1. Plaintiff’s (employee’s) prima facie case (sufficient to be presumed true unless proven otherwise) is confirmed by proving each of the following ingredients:
a. Plaintiff belongs to a protected class.
b. Plaintiff applied for a job for which the defendant was seeking applicants.
c. Plaintiff was qualified for the job.
d. Plaintiff was denied the job
e. The position remained open, and the employer continued to seek applicants.
2. Defendant’s (employer’s) case. If the plaintiff builds a successful prima facie case, the defendant must “articulate some legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for the employee’s rejection” (e.g., greater work experience). However, the defendant need not prove that its decision not to hire the plaintiff was, in fact, based on that legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason. The defendant simply must raise a legitimate issue of fact disputing the plaintiff’s discrimination claim.
3. Plaintiff’s response. Assuming the defendant was successful in presenting a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for its action, the plaintiff must show that the reason offered by the defendant was false and thus was merely a pretext to hide discrimination.
There are three basic types of illegal employment discrimination: disparate treatment, disparate impact, and harassment. In addition, Title VII and other antiemployment discrimination statutes prohibit retaliation for opposing an employment practice reasonably believed to be discriminatory, or for participating in a claim of employment discrimination. Plaintiffs may raise claims of more than one type of employment discrimination, as well as retaliation, against an employer.