Dr. Shu-Hui Wu v. Mississippi State University

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed the Northern District of Mississippi’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Mississippi State University (“MSU”) in a recent employment discrimination action. The action was brought by plaintiff, Dr. Shu-Hui Wu, who worked as history professor at MSU since 1999 and an associate professor since 2004.  Dr Wu claimed that the University retaliated against her by denying her promotion to full professor and providing a minimal raise after she filed three different complaints against MSU with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).  The complaints alleged: (1) that Wu was paid less than other professors; (2) that she received a lower raise in retaliation for her first charge; and (3) that MSU denied her promotion to full professor in retaliation for the first two EEOC charges.

 

                Dr. Wu sued MSU in December 2012 under Title VII for discrimination and retaliation based on the University’s failure to promote her to full professor and raise her salary commensurate with the rates received by other professors. The United States District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, Aberdeen division, granted MSU’s motion for summary judgment as to the plaintiff’s claims for retaliation and race discrimination arising from the denial of her promotion. However, the court denied Defendant’s motion for summary judgment as to plaintiff’s salary discrimination claims and her claims for national origin discrimination arising from denial of her promotion application. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court’s findings in all respects. As to summary judgment on Wu’s retaliation claims, the Court held that Wu failed to produce sufficient evidence that the denial of her promotion was causally linked to her EEOC complaints or that it was motivated by a retaliatory animus. Similarly, Wu failed to provide sufficient evidence that the allegedly low pay raise could be causally linked to her third EEOC complaint. See more here