The Supreme Court has decided to hear a case that may have a resounding impact on claims of retaliation. The case, Thompson v. North American Stainless, concerns the legality of firing an employee following ocomplaints made by another employee related to the individual.
In this particular case, Thomson was employed at North American Stainless along side his fiance. Thomson’s fiance filed a charge with the EEOC alleging that she had been discriminated against by her superiors on the basis of her sex on February 13, 2003. A few weeks later on March 3, Thomson was terminated from North American Stainless.
The case was thrown out in District Court, with the decision stating that Thomson was not retaliated against directly in that he did not engage in the protected activity that the statute is meant to protect against, in this case reporting sexual discrimination to the EEOC. The Sixth Circuit Court upheld this decision.
However, the Obama administration has come out against the Sixth Circuit’s determination, believing that decision to be made in error.
The Supreme Court has an excellent opportunity to correct a failing in current anti-retaliatory statutes designed to curb employment discrimination in the workplace. A Supreme Court decision against retaliating against relatives that are employed alongside the affected could strengthen the rights of employees and further ensure that illegal conduct is reported to the proper authorities.
Lets hope the Supreme Court acts in the best interest of workers and includes protections against retaliation for relatives.