Supreme Court Unanimously Concludes That Title VII Permits Third-Party Retaliation Claims


In Thompson v. North American Stainless, LP, 562 U.S. __ (2011), the U.S. Supreme Court held that third parties may pursue retaliation claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Both plaintiff Eric Thompson and his fiancée, Miriam Regalado, were employed by North American Stainless (“NAS”). Three weeks after learning that Regalado had filed a charge alleging sex discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, NAS fired Thompson. Thompson alleged that his employment was terminated because his fiancée, Regalado, had filed the discrimination charge. The question before the Court was whether Thompson, who was a mere third party—and not the person who engaged in the protected activity—was entitled to sue for retaliation under Title VII.

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