Over the last decade, the Supreme Court has attempted to simplify Title VII and, with it, discrimination. This process began with the Court's decision in St. Mary's Honor Center v. Hicks, and continued in Sundowner Offshore Services, Inc. v. Oncale. In Hicks, the Court emphasized that the inquiry in a Title VII disparate treatment race-based case should be aimed solely at whether intentional discrimination occurred. In the process, the Court minimized the import of the three-part test for proving discrimination that had been announced twenty years earlier in McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green. In Oncale, the Court noted that any course of conduct yielding discrimination because of sex, regardless of whether that conduct fit prior definitions of sex discrimination or sexual harassment, may be actionable under Title VII. By cutting away much of the structure that flowed from and arguably illuminated its prior vision of discrimination in general and race and sex discrimination in particular, the Court suggests that Title VII should be relatively simply interpreted and that discrimination is or should be relatively easily understood. [..]
Henry L. Chambers, Discrimination, Plain and Simple, 36 Tulsa L. Rev. 557 (2001).