Dangerous Liaisons: Think Twice Before Firing an Employee Who Is Related to or Closely Associated with a Discrimination-Complaining Employee


Under Title VII, an employee is protected against retaliation if the employee opposes his or her employer’s discriminatory employment practice; files a charge of discrimination; or testifies, assists or participates in an investigation, proceeding or hearing relating to a discrimination charge. On Jan. 24, 2011, in Thompson v. North American Stainless LP, No. 09-291 (U.S. Jan. 24, 2011), the United States Supreme Court held that Title VII’s anti-retaliation protections extend to a person closely connected to another employee who has claimed discrimination against his or her employer, even if the person has not engaged personally in activity protected under the statute.

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