Citation. 534 U.S. 506 (2002)
Brief Fact Summary.
Petitioner brought a lawsuit against Respondent, claiming he was fired because of his national origin and age.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
Under Rule 8(a)(2), a complaint in an employment discrimination case is sufficient if it contains a short and plain statement showing entitlement to relief and providing a defendant with fair notice of the plaintiff’s claim.
Akos Swierkiewicz (Petitioner), a 53-year-old native of Hungary, was fired from his job at Sorema N. A. (Respondent), after first being demoted in favor of a younger French national. Petitioner brought a lawsuit claiming he was fired because of his national origin and age.
Does a complaint in an employment discrimination lawsuit have to contain specific facts establishing a prima facie case of discrimination?
No, the lawsuit only must contain a short and plaint statement showing entitlement to relief under Rule 8(a)(2).
The Court concluded that an employment discrimination claim does not need to allege a prima facie case to survive a motion to dismiss because Rule 8(a)(2) does not require the court to consider the success of the claim on the merits. Instead, it requires a short and plain statement showing entitlement to relief in the complaint. Petitioner met this requirement when he alleged discrimination because of national origin and age, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. These allegations provided Respondent with fair notice of the claims and potential relief.