In two decisions handed down on Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with the rights of employees who complain of job bias and are later subjected to retaliatory action by their employers.
In CBOCS West, Inc. v. Humphries, a former Cracker Barrel assistant manager claimed that the restaurant dismissed him because he is African-American, and because he complained to managers that an African-American co-worker was also fired for race-based reasons. The Court held that a longstanding federal civil rights law -- first enacted just after the Civil War -- "encompasses a complaint of retaliation against a person who has complained about a violation of another person's contract-related right."
In Gomez-Perez v. Potter, a postal worker was subjected to various forms of on-the-job retaliation after claiming that her employer violated federal age discrimination laws. The Court held that relevant provisions of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 prohibit employers from retaliating against a federal employee who complains of age discrimination.