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Home / Opinion / 09-291 Thompson v. North American Stainless, L.P.

09-291 Thompson v. North American Stainless, L.P.

Retaliation; spouses

An employee may sue his employer for retaliation, if he is terminated because his wife filed an employment discrimination claim.

If the facts Thompson alleges are true, his firing by NAS constituted unlawful retaliation. Title VII’s antiretaliation provision must be construed to cover a broad range of employer conduct. Burlington N. & S. F. R. Co. v. White, 548 U. S. 53. It prohibits any employer action that “ ‘well might have “dissuaded a reasonable worker from making or supporting a [discrimination] charge,” ’” id., at 68. That test must be applied in an objective fashion, to “avoi[d] the uncertainties and unfair discrepancies that can plague a judicial effort to determine a plaintiff’s unusual subjective feelings.” Id., at 68–69. A reasonable worker obviously might be dissuaded from engaging in protected activity if she knew that her fiancé would be fired.

567 F. 3d 804, reversed and remanded.

Local effect: The Seventh Circuit has not previously considered the issue.

09-291 Thompson v. North American Stainless, L.P.

Scalia, J.; Ginsburg, J., concurring.

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