Supreme Court’s Affirmation of Employee Rights

David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

We commend the Supreme Court for unanimously reversing the Sixth Court of Appeals and upholding the intent of Title VII‘s anti-retaliation provisions. In Thompson v. North American Stainless, the Court found that Eric Thompson, who was fired in 2002 soon after his fiancĂ©e-who worked at the same company-filed a sex discrimination complaint, had the right to sue his employer for retaliation under Title VII. Writing for the Court, Justice Scalia made clear that a worker could reasonably be silenced by fear of retaliation in the form of firing against a fiancĂ© and that such a situation violates essential civil rights protections.

Building on our strong legacy of civil rights advocacy, the Reform Movement was pleased to join an amicus brief coordinated by the National Women’s Law Center, urging the Justices to decide the case in Mr. Thompson’s favor and ensure the continued vitality of civil rights protections. We welcome the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which was largely drafted in the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism’s conference room.

The decision in Thompson v. North American Stainless is particularly heartening given its deviation from the recent trend of Supreme Court decisions prioritizing corporations over individuals.

We praise the justices for discontinuing this disturbing trend and hope to see more decisions recognizing individual rights in the future.