The Supreme Court issued two important decisions this week regarding whether retaliation claims may be brought under 42 U.S.C. s 1981 and the ADEA section dealing with federal employees.
Gomez-Perez v. Potter, No. 06-1321 (U.S. May 27, 2008) - The plaintiff in Gomez-Perez alleged that after she complained about age discrimination at her federal employer, she was retaliated against in various ways. She challenged that retaliation under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The issue was whether the portion of the ADEA that deals with federal employers, which was silent as to this issue, impliedly created a protection for federal employees against retaliation. The Court held that such a cause of action did exist in such circumstances.
CBOCS West Inc. v. Humphries, No. 06-1431 (U.S. May 27, 2008) (Section 1981) - Similarly in the CBOCS decision, the Court found an implied protection against retaliation under the Section 1981 reconstruction era race discrimination statute.
Frankly I was pleasantly surprised by the these decisions given the fight that was had over similar issues under Title IX a few years ago and the intervening change in the Court's membership.
Here is some more analysis from around the employment-law blogosphere: