Big Win For Workers’ Rights in Workplace Discrimination Suits

Today’s two Supreme Court decisions — Gomez-Perez v. Potter and CBOCS West, Inc. v. Humphriesheld that federal laws barring workplace discrimination protect workers against retaliation if they complain about bias on the job.   This expansive view of civil rights — particularly worker’s rights — is a welcome turn away from last year’s ruling in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company that limited plaintiff’s ability to seek redress in pay-discrimination cases.  The rights upheld today went beyond those explicitly articulated by congressional legislation.  That gives me confidence that the Roberts Court may bring a larger role for the judiciary in enforcing civil rights law.

Laura Beth, how psyched are you about this?

Here is more commentary by the New York Times, SCOTUSBlog and the Christian Science Monitor.


2 Responses to Big Win For Workers’ Rights in Workplace Discrimination Suits

  1. laurabethnielsen says:

    Way frigging stoked, Geoff!!!!!!!!! I wrote a report on how many constitutional claims involve a retaliation claim for the public interest law firm in CBOCS. If you know how muck I LOVE the Cracker Barrell you know how hard this was for me!!!!!!!!! MMMMMM — those pancakes rock!!

    Anyway, I thought this was my chance to perhaps get cited in an opinion. No such luck, but I am really happy they came out the way they did. And not a little shocked to tell you the truth.

  2. jeffaregularworkinglawyer says:

    Back to law . . . Why are you stoked, LB? The feds have made it clear that the one employment practice they absolutely won’t tolerate is retaliation for asserting claims of discrimination — they seem to view this as more serious than discrimination itself, and if you were running an enforcement system, you would, too. The Humphries case merely affirmed what every court of appeal had already decided — a retaliation claim is implied under Section 1981. Why did they take cert? Got me, although I’m sure it made some plaintiffs’ lawyers nervous. The other case only affects the rights of federal employees, although I suppose you can say that it’s one more brick in the anti-retaliation wall. It’s always good when things don’t get worse, but I try to save my enthusiasm for things actually getting better.

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