by Meghann Kantke and Abigail Crouse, Esqs.
Miriam and Eric both worked for the same company. They were also engaged. Then, Miriam filed an EEOC sex discrimination charge against their employer. Three weeks later, the company fired Eric. Can Eric claim his termination was in retaliation for his fiancée’s charge, though he himself did not engage in any protected activity under Title VII?
Yes, answered a unanimous Supreme Court in late January.
An ‘obvious’ case
In Thompson v. North American Stainless, the court reaffirmed that Title VII prohibits “any employer action that might have dissuaded a reasonable worker from making or supporting a charge of discrimination.” It held that Title VII’s anti-retaliation provision extends, in some cases, to reprisals against a third party.
To the Supreme Court, it was “obvious that a reasonable worker might be dissuaded from engaging in protected activity if she knew her fiancé would be fi...(register to read more)