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Thompson v. North American Stainless, LP  (09-291) 
Title VII creates a cause of action for third-party retaliation for persons who did not themselves engage in protect activity 
Decided January 24, 2011
[Full text opinion

Eric Thompson claimed he was fired because his fiancée, Miriam Regalado, filed an EEOC charge. The US Supreme Court unanimously held that if Thompson's alleged facts are true, then firing him was unlawful retaliation under Title VII.

Applying Burlington Northern v. White, 548 US 53 (2006), the Court said, " We think it obvious that a reasonable worker might be dissuaded from engaging in protected activity if she knew that her fiancé would be fired."

Title VII grants Thompson a cause of action because he is a "person claiming to be aggrieved ... by an alleged employment practice." He was within the "zone of interests" sought to be protected by the statute.

Case below: Thompson v. North American Stainless, LP (6th Cir en banc 06/05/2009)
Official docket sheet 
Certiorari granted: June 29, 2010. 
Oral argument: December 7, 2010.  [Transcript
Justice Kagan is recused in this case. 
The Acting Solicitor General participates in oral argument in this case. 

Questions presented:   

Section 704(a) of Title VII forbids an employer from retaliating against an employee because he or she engaged in certain protected activity. The questions presented are: 

(1) Does section 704(a) forbid an employer from retaliating for such activity by inflicting reprisals on a third party, such as a spouse, family member or fiancé, closely associated with the employee who engaged in such protected activity? 

(2) If so, may that prohibition be enforced in a civil action brought by the third party victim?

Certiorari Documents: 

Briefs on the merits: 


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