Supreme Court's Rulings Protect Workers from Employer Retaliation

The Supreme Court this week handed down a pair of rulings upholding the rights of employees who charge age and race discrimination, forbidding employers from retaliating when workers complain about such discrimination. In the age case, Gomez-Perez v. Potter, the court ruled for Myrna Gomez-Perez, a U.S. Postal Service worker who alleged that she was subjected to retaliation, including having her supervisor make accusations against her, after filing an age-discrimination complaint. The Postal Service argued that the age-discrimination law covering federal workers did not prohibit retaliation, but the court concluded, in a 6-to-3 vote, that Congress intended to protect workers in such positions as Gomez-Perez from retaliation.

In the race case, CBOCS West Inc. v. Humphries, the court ruled 7 to 2 in favor of Hedrick Humphries, a black employee of a Cracker Barrel restaurant. Humphries said he was dismissed for complaining to managers when another black worker was fired, allegedly for race-based reasons. The issue was whether a post-Civil War-era law he sued under, widely known as Section 1981, bars retaliation. The court's majority relied on a previous decision holding that a similar statute covers retaliation claims.

Although the statutes involved in the two cases did not expressly provide for retaliation claims, the court recognized in both decisions handed down May 27 that protection against retaliation is essential to the vigorous enforcement of the nation's civil rights laws. The court also noted that its decisions were consistent with a long line of prior decisions interpreting other, related civil rights statutes. Steven R. Shapiro, national legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said the decisions "are appropriately grounded in the realities of the workplace. Workers who fear retaliation are far less likely to report discrimination. Congress understood as much when it passed laws prohibiting employment discrimination based on race and age. By acknowledging that fact in its decisions [Tuesday], the court has protected workers and respected congressional intent."

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more.

  • Comply with OSHA’s Electronic Recordkeeping Requirements

    Collect relevant incident data and generate accurate OSHA 300, 300A, and 301 regulatory reports, including 300A CSV files for easy electronic submission to OSHA.

  • Complete Online Safety Training Courses

    Deliver state-of-the art, online safety training courses to your organization with IndustrySafe Training Management Software. Generate reports to track training compliance and automatically notify learners of upcoming or overdue classes.

  • Easy to Use Safety Inspection App

    Conduct inspections on the go with IndustrySafe’s mobile app. Complete safety audits at job sites and remote locations—with or without web access.

  • Track Key Safety Performance Indicators

    IndustrySafe’s Dashboard Module allows organizations to easily track safety KPIs and metrics. Gain increased visibility into your business’ operations and safety data.

  • Industry Safe
comments powered by Disqus