Third-Party Retaliation (Part 1)

Our video today talks about third-party retaliation.

In Thompson v. North American Stainless, LP, __ U.S. __, 131 S. Ct. 863 (2011), the U.S. Supreme Court addressed a retaliation claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Eric Thompson, the plaintiff, was engaged to be married to Miriam Regalado and both were employed at North American Stainless (“NAS”). Id. at 867. Ms. Regalado filed an EEOC charge alleging sex discrimination against NAS, and three weeks later NAS fired her fiancée, Mr. Thompson. Mr. Thompson filed an EEOC charge, and then sued NAS, contending that NAS fired him to retaliate against Ms. Regalado for filing her EEOC charge. Id. The United States Supreme Court first concluded that Mr. Thompson’s status as Ms. Regalado’s fiancée was a relationship close enough to potentially fit within Title VII’s prohibition against third party retaliation. Id. at 868–69. Second, the Thompson Court concluded that Mr. Thompson was a “person aggrieved” within the meaning of Title VII because he was employed by the same employer as the original EEOC claimant and injuring him was the employer’s intended means of harming the claimant; in the Court’s phrase, Mr. Thompson was within the “zone of interests” sought to be protected by Title VII. Id. at 870.

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