In previous blog posts, we have examined the employment ramifications of the #MeToo movement, both in California and nationwide.
What we have not discussed is a legal concept that shares the same name as the #MeToo movement. In the legal realm, it’s known as “me too” evidence, or other victims of discrimination evidence.
Interestingly, “me too” evidence could play a pivotal role in #MeToo litigation that alleges sexual abuse or sex discrimination. In this post, we will explain why.
What is “me too” evidence?
With “me too” evidence, the court allows into the record statements from people who have had similar experiences as the plaintiff. This type of evidence can be instrumental in evaluating the discriminatory animus, motive or intent of the employer, supervisor, or harasser.
For example, attorney Twila S. White was one of the plaintiff’s attorneys in a significant 2009 California “me too” evidence case: Johnson v. United Cerebral Palsy, 173 Cal.App.4th 740.
In that case, a woman filed a lawsuit against her employer, alleging that she had been fired after disclosing that she was pregnant. The woman asserted that other former employees had been fired after becoming pregnant; this was the “me too” evidence in this case.
In addressing the “me too” evidence, the Court of Appeal for the Second District in California said in its Johnson v. United Cerebral Palsy decision: “We further conclude that other evidence in the record is also sufficient to raise triable issues regarding plaintiff’s termination.”
Why “me too” evidence is crucial
Sexual harassment and sex abuse cases can be difficult to prove in court, because the cases often hinge on the testimony of one person. When that’s the situation, courts sometimes must base their decisions on credibility.
“Me too” evidence can make the plaintiff’s case significantly stronger, because it can show a defendant’s pattern of behavior.
What to do if you have a case
The bottom line is this: “me too” evidence is admissible in court in California. Unfortunately, some judges do not allow “me too” evidence; when that’s the situation, it’s crucial to have a determined lawyer on your side who will fight for your rights.
If you have questions about “me too” evidence or any other employment law matter, contact attorney Twila S. White.