Ninth Circuit Rules ADA Discrimination Claims Must Follow But-For Causation Standard

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently ruled that in Americans With Disabilities (ADA) discrimination claims, the “but-for” standard of causation applies. Plaintiffs must show that the adverse employment action would not have occurred without the disability; identifying the disability as a motivating factor of the adverse action is insufficient. The appellee in this case had cited a 2005 Ninth Circuit decision which held that discrimination claims should be evaluated under a motivating factor causation standard. However, the court found that the 2005 decision was abrogated by subsequent Supreme Court opinions that established the but-for standard of causation, and which were upheld by similar rulings in the Second, Fourth and Seventh Circuits.

The case is Murray v. Mayo Clinic, in the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, No. 17-16803, filed August 20, 2019.