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Supreme Court Decision Extends Anti-Retaliation Protections to Fiancees

In Thompson v. North American Stainless LP, the United States Supreme Court unanimously held that the anti-retaliation provisions in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”) protected an individual from being terminated in retaliation for his fiancée’s prior complaint of discrimination to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”).

The Supreme Court’s decision overturned a Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling that a retaliation claim could not be brought by an individual who did not engage in the underlying protected activity. 

The Supreme Court’s decision in Thompson v. North American Stainless LP clearly expands the class of individuals that can bring viable retaliation claims against their employers.  Prior to this decision, retaliation claims could generally only be brought by individuals who themselves (1) opposed unlawful practices under Title VII;  or (2) participated in employment discrimination proceedings.  In light of the Supreme Court’s ruling, employers should take note that individuals who have an association or relationship with someone who has engaged in protective activity now may be able to bring a retaliation claim under Title VII.  The particular circumstances of the alleged retaliation as well as the nature of the relationship will provide the basis for determining whether a specific third-party will be able to bring such a claim against a particular employer. 

Go here to read the full article, “Supreme Court Decision Extends Anti-Retaliation Protections to Fiancees,” published online at PublicCEO.com.