Employment Law Case Brief and Presentation, law homework help

Use the IRAC method to write a case brief on Thompson v. North American Stainless, LP.

2 slides; 1 for the intro of the presentation and 1 for the “c” in IRAC which is the conclusion.

I need detailed notes for the slides. I will attach the template that I need the slides added to.

Please cite any references and add to reference slide.


562 U.S. __ (2011)

After petitioner Thompson’s fiancée, Miriam Regalado,

filed a sex discrimination charge with the Equal

Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

against their employer, respondent North American

Stainless (NAS), NAS fired Thompson. He filed his

own charge and a subsequent suit under Title VII of

the Civil Rights Act, claiming that NAS fired him to

retaliate against Regalado for filing her charge. The

District Court granted NAS summary judgment on

the ground that third-party retaliation claims were not

permitted by Title VII, which prohibits discrimination

against an employee “because he has made a [Title VII]

charge.” The en banc Sixth Circuit affirmed, reasoning

that Thompson was not entitled to sue NAS for

retaliation because he had not engaged in any activity

protected by the statute. By a vote of 8-0, the Supreme

Court overturned the Court of Appeals. (Justice Kagan

took no part in the consideration of the case.)

SCALIA, J.: Until 2003, both petitioner Eric

Thompson and his fiancée, Miriam Regalado, were

employees of respondent North American Stainless

(NAS). In February 2003, the Equal Employment

Opportunity Commission (EEOC) notified NAS that

Regalado had filed a charge alleging sex discrimination.

Three weeks later, NAS fired Thompson.

Thompson then filed a charge with the EEOC.

After conciliation efforts proved unsuccessful, he sued

NAS in the United States District Court for the Eastern

District of Kentucky under Title VII of the Civil Rights

Act of 1964,78 Stat. 253, 42 U. S. C. §2000e et seq.,

claiming that NAS had fired him in order to retaliate

against Regalado for filing her charge with the EEOC.

The District Court granted summary judgment to NAS,

concluding that Title VII “does not permit third party

retaliation claims.” 435 F. Supp. 2d 633, 639 (ED Ky.

2006). After a panel of the Sixth Circuit reversed the

District Court, the Sixth Circuit granted rehearing en

banc and affirmed by a 10-to-6 vote. 567 F. 3d 804

(2009). The court reasoned that because Thompson did

not “engag[e] in any statutorily protected activity, either

on his own behalf or on behalf of Miriam Regalado,”

he “is not included in the class of persons for whom

Congress created a retaliation cause of action.” . . .

Title VII provides that “[i]t shall be an unlawful

employment practice for an employer to discriminate

against any of his employees . . . because he has made

a charge” under Title VII. 42 U. S. C. §2000e–3(a). The

statute permits “a person claiming to be aggrieved” to

file a charge with the EEOC alleging that the employer

committed an unlawful employment practice, and, if

the EEOC declines to sue the employer, it permits a

civil action to “be brought . . . by the person claiming

to be aggrieved . . . by the alleged unlawful employment

practice.” §2000e–5(b), (f)(1). It is undisputed

that Regalado’s filing of a charge with the EEOC was

protected conduct under Title VII. In the procedural

posture of this case, we are also required to assume

that NAS fired Thompson in order to retaliate against

Regalado for filing a charge of discrimination. This

case therefore presents two questions: First, did NAS’s

firing of Thompson constitute unlawful retaliation?

And second, if it did, does Title VII grant Thompson

a cause of action?

With regard to the first question, we have little difficulty

concluding that if the facts alleged by Thompson

are true, then NAS’s firing of Thompson violated Title

VII. In Burlington N. & S. F. R. Co. v. White, 548 U. S. 53

(2006), we held that Title VII’s antiretaliation provision

must be construed to cover a broad range of employer

conduct. We reached that conclusion by contrasting

the text of Title VII’s antiretaliation provision with its

substantive antidiscrimination provision. . . . Title VII’s

antiretaliation provision prohibits any employer action

that “well might have dissuaded a reasonable worker

from making or supporting a charge of discrimination.”

Id., at 68 (internal quotation marks omitted).

We think it obvious that a reasonable worker might

be dissuaded from engaging in protected activity if she

knew that her fiancé would be fired. Indeed, NAS does

not dispute that Thompson’s firing meets the standard

set forth in Burlington. Tr. of Oral Arg. 30. NAS raises

the concern, however, that prohibiting reprisals against

third parties will lead to difficult line-drawing problems

concerning the types of relationships entitled to protection.

Perhaps retaliating against an employee by firing

his fiancée would dissuade the employee from engaging

in protected activity, but what about firing an employee’s

girlfriend, close friend, or trusted co-worker? . . .

Although we acknowledge the force of this point,

we do not think it justifies a categorical rule that thirdparty

reprisals do not violate Title VII. As explained

above, we adopted a broad standard in Burlington

because Title VII’s antiretaliation provision is worded

broadly. We think there is no textual basis for making

an exception to it for third-party reprisals, and

a preference for clear rules cannot justify departing

from statutory text. We must also decline to identify

a fixed class of relationships for which third-party

reprisals are unlawful. We expect that firing a close

family member will almost always meet the Burlington

standard, and inflicting a milder reprisal on a mere

acquaintance will almost never do so, but beyond that

we are reluctant to generalize. . . .

The more difficult question in this case is whether

Thompson may sue NAS for its alleged violation of

Title VII. The statute provides that “a civil action may

be brought . . . by the person claiming to be aggrieved.”

“. . . to be aggrieved” to bring “a civil action.” It is arguable

that the aggrievement referred to is nothing more

than the minimal Article III standing, which consists

of injury in fact caused by the defendant and remediable

by the court. See Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife,

504 U. S. 555, 560–561 (1992). But Thompson’s claim

undoubtedly meets those requirements, so if that is

indeed all that aggrievement consists of, he may sue. . . .

We hold that the term “aggrieved” in Title VII

incorporates this test, enabling suit by any plaintiff with

an interest “arguably [sought] to be protected by the

statutes,” National Credit Union Admin. v. First Nat.

Bank & Trust Co., 522 U. S. 479, 495 (1998) (internal

quotation marks omitted), while excluding plaintiffs

who might technically be injured in an Article III sense

but whose interests are unrelated to the statutory prohibitions

in Title VII. Applying that test here, we conclude

that Thompson falls within the zone of interests

protected by Title VII. Thompson was an employee of

NAS, and the purpose of Title VII is to protect employees

from their employers’ unlawful actions. Moreover,

accepting the facts as alleged, Thompson is not an

accidental victim of the retaliation—collateral damage,

so to speak, of the employer’s unlawful act. To the contrary,

injuring him was the employer’s intended means

of harming Regalado. Hurting him was the unlawful

act by which the employer punished her. In those circumstances,

we think Thompson well within the zone

of interests sought to be protected by Title VII. He is a

person aggrieved with standing to sue.

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