Title VII Bars Retaliation Against Fiance, Supreme Court Says

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On the heels of the EEOC’s fiscal year 2010 report that for the first time in history retaliation surpassed race as the most frequently filed charge against employers, the Supreme Court approved an unusual theory of retaliation, but one that could even further bolster that trend. In Thompson v. North American Stainless, LP, the Supreme Court held 8-0 (Justice Elena Kagan not participating) that Title VII’s anti-retaliation provisions prohibit an employer from terminating the fiancé of an employee who files an EEOC charge. From this decision, written by Justice Antonin Scalia, it is now clear that retaliation concerns go beyond the employee who engaged in the protected activity. But the Court refused to specify exactly how far.

Background of the Case

Miriam Regalado and her fiance, Eric Thompson, were both employees of North American Stainless. In 2003, Regalado filed a sex discrimination charge against the company. Three weeks later, the company terminated Thompson.

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