NJ Retaliation Lawyer – Can You Sue If You’re Fired in Retaliation for Something Done by a Family Member?

Eric Thompson claimed he was fired because his fiancé filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The United States Supreme Court unanimously held that if Thompson’s allegations proved true, then firing him was illegal retaliation under federal laws banning discrimination in the workplace.  See Thompson v. North American Stainless (January 24, 2011).   The Court reasoned that, “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.”

The federal anti-discrimination law permitted Thompson a legal claim for being fired because he was within the “zone of interests” that the law intends to protect.  The Court said, “Thompson is not an accidental victim of the retaliation – collateral damage, so to speak, of the employer’s unlawful act. To the contrary, injuring him was the employer’s intended means of harming [his fiancé]. Hurting him was the unlawful act by which the employer punished her. In those circumstances, we think Thompson well within the zone of interests sought to be protected by Title VII [the federal anti-discrimination law]. He is a person aggrieved with standing to sue.”

February 1, 2011 – Paul Castronovo – Castronovo & McKinney