Case Note: Scrivener v. Clark College
Lane Powell Attorney Skyler Tanner authored an article in the October issue of Hearsay, the official newsletter of the Clark County Bar Association, titled “Case Note: Scrivener v. Clark College.” In the article, Tanner discussed a case that recently went before the Washington State Supreme Court, in which Clark College was sued for age discrimination after not hiring the plaintiff, Scrivener, for two tenure-track teaching positions. Scrivener was employed at the time by the college as a non-tenure track instructor; but, after a teaching presentation and an interview with the President and Vice President of instruction, Scrivener was not offered a position. Scrivener presented evidence that the college had publicly discussed the need to hire younger instructors. The Court, Tanner explained, clarified that if a plaintiff could present evidence that the articulated reason for the adverse decision was pretextual, then it was not limited to the four previously recognized options for rebutting the defense.
The Supreme Court explained, however, that these four options were only examples of how a plaintiff could prove the defendant’s articulated reasons were pretextual and that a plaintiff could also satisfy the pretext prong by presenting sufficient evidence that discrimination was a substantially motivating factor for the adverse employment decision. … The Court went on to hold that Ms. Scrivener had provided sufficient evidence to create a genuine issue of material fact concerning whether age was a substantially motivating factor in the College’s decision-making process, and that a jury should weigh the evidence.