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46 New Eng. L. Rev. On Remand 1 (2011-2012)

handle is hein.journals/remand46 and id is 1 raw text is: FIANCt S ARE PROTECTED UNDER TITLE VII
- THE SUPREME COURT RECOGNIZES
THIRD-PARTY RETALIATION CLAIMS IN
THOMPSON V. NORTH AMERICAN
STAINLESS, LP
LYNNE M. WOUNDY*
-Abstract
In 2009, the Sixth Circuit in Thompson v. North American Stainless,
LP (Thompson 1) addressed the issue of third-party retaliation claims and
held that an employee cannot bring a claim of retaliation based on the
protected activity of another if the employee did not personally engage in
protected activity. The Supreme Court recently reversed this decision,
holding that the employee does have a recognizable claim under Title VII.
The plaintiff in the case alleged that he was terminated because his fianc6e
filed a sex discrimination claim against their mutual employer. According
to the Supreme Court, the unlawful conduct was against the plaintiff's
fianc6e, and because such conduct would dissuade his fianc6e from
bringing a claim under the Act, the employer violated Title VII. By
addressing the issue in terms of retaliation against the fiancee, the Court
avoided the difficult question of whether the plaintiff himself was required
to engage in protected activity. The Supreme Court simply held that
Thompson could sue based on the employer's retaliation against his
fiancee because he was harmed by the retaliation. Although this decision
poses many unanswered questions about the extent of third-party
retaliation claims, employees can now be assured that they will be
protected against employer retaliation based on the protected activity of
another as long as the relationship is sufficiently close.
INTRODUCTION
Until recently, employees were not clearly protected under Title VII
from employer retaliation based on the protected activity of the employee's
relatives, spouses, or friends. In 2009, the Sixth Circuit in Thompson v. North

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