Posted On: April 6, 2011 by Peter M. LaSorsa

United States Supreme Court Expands Workplace Protection

The United States Supreme Court recently expanded protections for employees who complain about violations in the workplace. In Thompson v. North American Stainless
the Court held that an employee who was fired because of the actions of a spouse or fiance could file a retaliation claim. In fact he Court said any third party can file a retaliation claim if the third party is being punished because of a claim of discrimination another employee is filing. In this case Eric Thompson was fired because his fiancee Miriam Regalado fired a gender discrimination complaint against North American Stainless where they both worked.

A very short time after Regalado filed her gender discrimination claim Thompson was fired. The Court did not buy the company position that if it allowed Thompson to succeed on his claim it would open the floodgate of complaints against employers. This is a very important case because it allows other employees to file claims of retaliation if a negative job action is taken against them for supporting another employees claim of discrimination.

The Court said "it was obvious that a reasonable worker might be dissuaded from engaging in protected activity if she knew that her fiance would be fired."

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