Punishing son for father’s complaint is retaliation

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

In January, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Thompson v. North American Stainless that it’s retaliation to fire someone because his fiancée complained about discrimination. Since then, courts have had to reconsider the idea that only the original complainant can sue for retaliation.

Recent case: Manuel Zamora and his son Christopher are Houston police officers. When Manuel spoke out against perceived bias, Christopher claimed he was punished by missing out on promotions.

They both sued and the court dismissed Christopher’s claim because he wasn’t the original complainant.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the lower court’s dismissal. It reasoned that under the Supreme Court’s Thompson ruling, punishing a close relative, such as a son, may be retaliation. (Zamora v. City of Houston, No. 10-20625, 5th Cir., 2011)

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