Fenwick Employment Brief - February 4, 2011


In this issue: Employee Fired After Fiancee Filed Claim Allowed to Pursue Retaliation Claim Under Title VII; Use of Personal Email on Work Computers Can Defeat Attorney-Client Privilege; California Supreme Court Rules Private Discussions Between Client And Attorney During Mediation Are Not Admissible In Malpractice Actions; Ninth Circuit Holds That Employees Who Leave Their Jobs Because The Business Is Closing Have Not “Voluntarily Departed” Under The WARN Act; Questions On Government Background Check Form Asking About Illegal Drug Use Do Not Violate The Right To Informational Privacy; Ignorance Of The Law Is Not A Defense For Failure To Provide Properly Itemized Wage Statements; First Circuit Holds “Faith Healing” Trip Does Not Constitute Medical Care Within The Meaning Of The FMLA; and Summary Judgment Reversed Holding That Determination Of Employee Or Independent Contractor Should Be Made By A Trier Of Fact, Considering The Totality Of The Evidence.

Excerpt from Employee Fired After Fiancee Filed Claim Allowed to Pursue Retaliation Claim Under Title VII:

The United States Supreme Court, in Thompson v. North American Stainless, LP, extended the scope of Title VII’s anti-retaliation protections by ruling that an employee who was terminated shortly after his fiancée filed a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was allowed to pursue a Title VII retaliation claim against their common employer.

Eric Thompson and his fiancée Miriam Regalado both worked for North American Stainless (NAS). In 2003, Regaldo filed an EEOC claim alleging sex discrimination. Three weeks after learning of the claim, NAS fired Thompson. The Supreme Court granted certiorari to determine whether Thompson’s termination constituted unlawful retaliation for Regaldo’s complaint, and whether Thompson had a valid cause of action under Title VII (reported in the 07/14/10 FEB).

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