Tuesday, June 29, 2010
On its last day of the term, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Thompson v. North American Stainless, 09-291, a case concerning whether Title VII prohibits retaliation against a person associated with someone who engaged in protected activity under the act. A panel of the Sixth Circuit had recognized the claim, but the the court sitting en banc reversed that decision--with six dissents (see here for a prior post, and here for the Scotuswiki page collecting links).
The questions presented in the cert petition (filed by Eric Schnapper--Washington) are:
(1) Does section 704(a) forbid an employer from retaliating for such activity by inflicting reprisals on a third party, such as a spouse, family member or fiancé, closely associated with the employee who engaged in such protected activity?
(2) If so, may that prohibition be enforced in a civil action brought by the third party victim?
The Solicitor General's views had been requested by the Court, and although the Court often follows that recommendation, it did not here--the SG recommended that the Court deny cert. It looks like next term is shaping up to be another big one for employment cases.