U.S. Supreme Court Prohibits Retaliating Against Third-Parties in the Workplace



Employers who employ more than one family member or someone with a close relationship to another co-worker must now exercise caution in its workplace relationships with such employees.

This is because in a decision styled Thompson v. North American Stainless L.P., the United States Supreme Court announced on January 24, 2011, an expansion of the “anti-retaliation” component of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. This decision imposes new limits on employers’ right to take disciplinary actions against third-party employees who are “related” to co-workers who complain about discriminatory practices in the workplace.

The impact of this decision (as explained below) will be that when one employee makes a charge of discrimination under Title VII against the employer, employers will need to avoid any conduct against an individual who is “related” to that complaining co-worker that could violate Title VII’s anti-retaliation provision.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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