Tread Lightly: Third-Party Retaliation Claims after Thompson V. North American Stainless

By Underwood, Brandon | Journal of Corporation Law, January 1, 2013 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Tread Lightly: Third-Party Retaliation Claims after Thompson V. North American Stainless


Underwood, Brandon, Journal of Corporation Law


I. INTRODUCTION

By recognizing a cause of action for third-party retaliation, the Supreme Court's decision in Thompson v. North American Stainless, LP1 repudiated the conclusions of four Circuit Courts of Appeals.2 Although a cause of action for third-party retaliation is a significant expansion of Title VII's retaliation protection, employers can minimize potential detrimental effects. Employers must recognize the scope of third-party retaliation protection and adopt appropriate responses to accommodate the new protection.

Part II of this Note traces the general history and purpose of Title VII, examines Title VII's statutory provisions, including the anti-retaliation provision, and concludes with an overview of both early and late third-party retaliation cases. Part III analyzes the Sixth Circuit's Thompson decision and examines responses to that decision. Part III then analyzes the Supreme Court's Thompson decision, subsequent scholarly commentary, and two subsequent district court orders analyzing Thompson. Finally, Part IV notes some important considerations for employers in adopting new policies and procedures in light of Thompson. These considerations include the apparent requirements for bringing a third-party retaliation claim, the likelihood that third-party retaliation protection will extend to other laws, and the need for the EEOC to identify some relationships entitled to third-party retaliation protection. Notwithstanding these specifically identified relationships, employers should be mindful of the possibility that courts will expand the scope of third-party retaliation protection.

II. BACKGROUND

This Part proceeds in four directions. The first describes briefly the history of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Following the historical primer is an examination of some of Title VII's provisions and a description of the role of the EEOC. Court decisions, in which some courts did, and some courts did not, recognize third-party retaliation claims are then discussed. Finally, a brief description of the Supreme Court's decision in Thompson v. North American Stainless concludes the Part.

A. History of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

On July 2, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson delivered a televised speech hailing the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which included Title VII.3 Before Title VII, the President asserted, people of all races and colors fought America's wars and built America's prosperity, but some had been denied equality.4 President Johnson declared that from that day forward, all Americans would "be equal in the polling booths, in the classrooms, [and] in the factories."5 President Johnson concluded the speech by asking Americans to set aside divisions and to focus the nation's resolve on banishing from America "the last vestiges of injustice."6

1. Roosevelt and Executive Order 8802

The roots of Title VII took hold during the administration of President Franklin Roosevelt.7 Spurred by the need for employees in defense industries and demands for equality made by black civil rights and labor organizers, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 8802 in June 1941.8 Although it lacked the protection against sex discrimination that eventually appeared in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act,9 the Executive Order avowed there would be "no discrimination in the employment of workers in defense industries or government because of race, creed, color, or national origin."10 The President ordered the government to adopt measures to ensure effective administration of defense training programs without discrimination and required all government contracts to include a provision prohibiting discrimination against members of the protected categories.11

Foreshadowing Title VII's creation of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC),12 the Order established a Committee on Fair Employment Practices (FEPC).13 The FEPC was to "receive and investigate complaints of discrimination" and "take appropriate steps to redress grievances .

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Tread Lightly: Third-Party Retaliation Claims after Thompson V. North American Stainless
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?