Lee Briggs, a Black male who worked as a compensation analyst for the University of Cincinnati’s HR Department, filed suit against the University in 2018 alleging race and gender discrimination relating to UC’s decision to pay him significantly less than his Caucasian, female coworker. Mr. Briggs further alleged that following his complaints of discrimination to the Chief Human Resources Officer, UC retaliated against him by interfering with his ability to apply for a promotion. On Thursday, August 26, 2021, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously reversed a lower court decision, which had dismissed all of Mr. Briggs’ claims, finding that a jury could conclude Mr. Briggs’ race and/or sex contributed to the significant pay disparities. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals further determined that a jury should decide whether UC’s Chief Human Resources Officer retaliated against him after he complained to her about race and sex discrimination.
After the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio originally dismissed Mr. Briggs’ lawsuit, FMR appealed to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Kati Neff and Laura Wilson worked together in filing the necessary briefs to the Sixth Circuit, and Kati argued to the Court of Appeals in June of 2021.
As a result of the Sixth Circuit’s decision, the case has been sent back to the trial court for trial by a jury. The date for the jury trial has not yet been set.