Associational Discrimination: Supreme Court Decides Thompson v. North American Stainless
On January 24, 2011, the United States Supreme Court decided the case of Thompson v. North American Stainless, LP, No. 09-291. The Court unanimously (8-0, with Justice Kagan recusing herself) reversed the 10-6 en banc decision from the Sixth Circuit. The Supreme Court held that Title VII’s anti-retaliation provision reached a Charging Party’s fiancé. The decision’s significant practical ramifications are discussed at the conclusion of this article.
The facts of this case are straightforward. The defendant company, North American Stainless (NAS) terminated one of its employees, Miriam Regalado. She filed a Charge of Discrimination with the EEOC, claiming that she had been discharged on the basis of gender in violation of Title VII’s prohibition against sex discrimination. Three weeks after Regalado filed her Charge, NAS also terminated her fiancé, Eric Thompson. Thompson then independently filed a Charge of Discrimination with the EEOC, claiming that he was a victim of retaliatory conduct by NAS. Answer→