Legal Alert: Supreme Court Permits Third-Party Retaliation Claims

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In a decision that significantly expands the scope of Title VII's prohibition on retaliation, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that an employee who claimed he was fired because his fiancé filed a discrimination charge should be permitted to proceed with his Title VII retaliation claim. See Thompson v. North American Stainless, LP (Jan. 24, 2011). The Court's decision reverses that of the Sixth Circuit, which had held that a third party cannot pursue a retaliation claim under Title VII where he has not personally engaged in a protected activity. See our July 7, 2010 Legal Alert, "Is Having a Close Relationship Enough to Pursue Title VII Retaliation Claim?"

Among other things, Title VII makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an employee because that person has made a charge under Title VII. The statute permits "a person claiming to be aggrieved" to file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and, if the agency doesn't file suit, to sue the employer based on the employer's alleged actions.

Please see full alert below for more information.

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