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July 2011 Archives

Why Employers Should Fear Retaliation Claims

Employers have good reason to fear retaliation claims and plaintiff's attorneys good reason to like them. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act makes it illegal to discriminate against an individual because of race, color, national origin, religion and sex. However, the best claims from an individual's perspective are found in the section of Title VII that prohibits retaliation against individuals who oppose a discriminatory practice, make a complaint of discrimination or participate in an proceeding under Title VII, such as an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") proceeding or lawsuit. Here's why employers should fear such cases.

U.S Supreme Court Interprets Anti-Retaliation Provision

Earlier this year, in the case, Thompson v. North American Stainless, L.P., 131 S.Ct. 863 (2011), the United States Supreme Court interpreted the anti-retaliation provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), a statute that, among other things, protects employees from retaliation for making complaints of racial, religious, national origin and sex discrimination. The Court's decision is good news for employees. The Facts. Miriam Regalado and her fiance, Eric Thompson, both worked for North American Stainless ("NAS"). Ms. Regalado filed a charge of sex discrimination against NAS, and in February 2003 the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission notified NAS. Three weeks later, NAS fired Mr. Thompson.

The Food Safety Modernization Act

On January 4, 2011, President Obama signed into law the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (the "Act").  This Act amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act ("FFDCA") with the stated purpose of improving food safety "from farm to table." Section 402 of the Act provides broad whistleblower protection for employees engaged in the manufacture, processing, packing, transporting, distribution, reception, holding or importation of food. Protected Conduct. Whistleblowers may not be discharged or otherwise suffer adverse employment actions for engaging in certain protected activity such as when an employee:

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