Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Recent Supreme Court Decision Again Expands Retaliation

On Tuesday the United States Supreme Court issued two decisions that expand the availability of retaliation claims for race and age discrimination.  Although neither the Age Discrimination in Employment Act nor Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ban retaliation, the majority of justices found that the overall purpose of these laws suggest an intent by Congress to prevent discrimination including retaliation.

Writing for the majority in one of the cases, Justice Breyer cited two prior decisions of the Court as supporting an expansive view of such laws. "We believe it is too late in the day in effect to overturn the holding in that [1969] case," Justice Breyer writes for the seven-justice majority in CBOCS West, Inc. v. Humphries.  These decisions as some analysts had predicted that the new makeup of the Court would result in decisions adopting a more restrictive approach to such laws to make it harder for victims of discrimination to sue.  Especially suprising for some court watchers was the Justice Alito wrote the majority opinion in the decision expanding the ADEA to include retaliation claims.

For more in depth analysis and information, see an article by Warren Ritchie in the Christian Science Monitor:

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