Lisa Marshall Manheim, The Character of Discrimination Law: The Incompatibility of Rule 404 and Employment Discrimination Suits, 114 Yale L.J. 1063 (2005), https://digitalcommons.law.uw.edu/faculty-articles/727
The Character of Discrimination Law: The Incompatibility of Rule 404 and Employment Discrimination Suits
Evidence law, discrimination law, Rule 404, propensity evidence
This Note illustrates how violations of Rule 404 of the Federal Rules of Evidence (which prohibits litigants from relying on certain propensity proofs) occur routinely. It demonstrates that the ineffectiveness of the ban in the context of discrimination suits cannot be blamed on clever lawyers or negligent judges, but rather is a predictable consequence of the dearth of evidence available to discrimination plaintiffs. This Note concludes by arguing that this subtle but problematic incongruity justifies a reform of the Rule.