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Supreme Court Permits Title VII Third Party Reprisal Claims

On January 24, in Thompson v. North American Stainless, LP, the Supreme Court determined that an employee may state a claim for retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act even if that employee had not directly engaged in a protected activity. This ruling means that employers should exercise caution if contemplating an adverse employment action against a family member or significant other of a person who has engaged in protected activity. As always when faced with the prospect of taking adverse action against an employee, employers should conform to their own policies and to applicable state and federal laws. The safest route is to maintain consistent documentation of all employee decisions, including employee performance, promotion and discipline.

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