High Court Decides Closely Watched Title VII Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has issued a decision in Thompson v. North American Stainless, a closely watched sex discrimination lawsuit that has been portrayed as an attempt to expand the protections of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The lawsuit was filed by a Kentucky man who was fired from a job where he worked with his girlfriend (now wife) after she filed a sex discrimination complaint against their employer. The boyfriend (now husband) filed the claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business groups filed amicus briefs in the case based on the argument that the man had no standing under Title VII since it was his girlfriend who was the target of the alleged discriminatory conduct. A unanimous Supreme Court disagreed, holding that the man has standing to sue because the employer’s decision to fire the man was clearly a form of retaliation against his girlfriend under the Statute.

Though the media – as well as some special interest groups, like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – like to portray Supreme Court decisions as an extension of our polarized politics, the fact that eight of the nine justices (Justice Elena Kagan recused herself) reached the same conclusion on a matter involving a hot-button issue like discrimination shows that, even today, Justices can and do reach decisions by objectively applying law to fact.

Posted: 3/25/2011 10:58:01 AM by Global Administrator | with 0 comments

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Thanks for stopping by On the Merits, the first blog from the Texas Center for Legal Ethics. On the Merits will take a close look at significant legal stories with an eye toward addressing the legal myths and misconceptions that turn up in news stories, movies, TV programs, websites, anonymous emails and other forms of mass communications. Our goal at On the Merits is to provide readers with a thoughtful examination of what the media and others are saying about the legal profession and to apply the frequently-absent context of how the legal system actually works.

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