Yesterday the US Supreme Court ruled unanimously in Thompson v. North American Stainless that the anti-retaliation provision of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 applies to any individual who has experienced retaliation, regardless of whether he/she personally filed the discrimination complaint. The Supreme Court’s decision overturns the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling that retaliation claims could only be made by the individual who filed the initial discrimination claim.
In this case, Eric Thompson filed charges that he had been retaliated against after he was terminated by North American Stainless (NAS) three weeks after his fiance filed a sex discrimination complaint with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against NAS.
Jacqueline Berrien, Chair of the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, stated “We are very pleased with the Supreme Court opinion issued today. The unanimous decision reaffirms the importance of preventing retaliation against those seeking to protect their civil rights.” Over the past year, EEOC reported that the majority of its claim were based on alleged retaliation, making it the first year in the 45 year history of the organization that the number of retaliation claims exceeded the number of racial discrimination charges.