Is proving employment discrimination more difficult under the federal rules of evidence? An article by the New York Times entitled Chief Justice’s Report Praises Limits on Litigants’ Access to Information suggests so. Let’s take a closer look. In doing so, it’s important to note that employees who bring whistleblower claims, unpaid wages actions (including overtime and commission claims), and who are retaliated against for using medical leave likely face hurdles.
As discussed in the 2015 Year-End Report on the Federal Judiciary by Justice Roberts, the amended Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (FRCP) 26(b)(1) now requires discovery requests to be “proportional to the needs of the case, considering the importance of the issues at stake in the action, the amount in controversy, the parties’ relative access to relevant information, the parties’ resources, the importance of the discovery in resolving the issues, and whether the burden or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely benefit.” In contrast, Massachusetts Rule of Civil Procedure (MRCP) 26(b)(1) currently imposes no such requirement.