Imagine if your significant other was being discriminated at work and filed a complaint of harassment against your mutual employer. In response, the company fires you. Can you sue?
A recent Supreme Court decision says – yes, in most situations. In Thompson v. North American Stainless, a man – Eric Thompson – was fired after his fiancée filed a gender discrimination complaint with the EEOC. Thompson then filed a third party claim for retaliation against the company.
Although his claim was initially rejected, the Supreme Court overturned this decision, finding both that firing Thompson was a violation of federal law and that he could bring a claim against the company. The court determined that in those situations where you have a “close relationship” with a co-worker, and complain of discrimination, that co-worker might be protected from retaliation as well. The court did not specifically say who fits within this protected group, but suggested that close family members would likely be included, but “mere acquaintances” might not.
This decision follows a string of cases enforcing anti-retaliation laws and protecting worker’s right to complain about work-place discrimination. As stated by one commentator, “the court is extremely protective of the right to be free from unlawful retaliation in the workplace.”
For more information, please contact the Atlanta employment lawyers at Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP. We are dedicated to protecting worker’s rights.