The law of the land

The Supreme Court has made significant rulings in employment law during the past year

In 2011, the Supreme Court seized the opportunity to weigh in on several novel and pressing employment issues—all of which affect roofing contractors. Heeding the Supreme Court's recent rulings will ensure your workplace is well-positioned to survive any resulting legal claims.

Expanded protection

Before 2011, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act only protected from retaliation an employee who opposed his or her employer's discriminatory employment practice; filed a charge of discrimination; or participated in an investigation, proceeding or hearing relating to a discrimination charge. In Thompson v. North American Stainless LP, the Supreme Court expanded the scope of an employer's liability for retaliation claims under Title VII to include claims by a third party who has not personally engaged in protected activity but is closely connected to an employee who has.

Eric Thompson and his fiancée, Miriam Regalado, both worked for North American Stainless (NAS). Regalado previously had filed a discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against NAS. Three weeks after NAS received notice of Regalado's EEOC charge, Thompson was fired. Thompson sued NAS under Title VII, alleging NAS fired him in retaliation for Regalado's charge of discrimination.