In a 7-2 opinion the Court held that an employee who complained of race discrimination was protected from retaliation by section 1981 of the U.S. Code. In the case, CBOCS West, Inc. v. Humphries, a former assistant manager at Cracker Barrel complained that he was being subjected to race discrimination. After the complaint his employer fired him. He sued under Title
The Court held section 1981 does prohibit retaliation. This is an important victory for employees. Title
The second case asked whether or not the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”) protected federal employees who complain of age discrimination from retaliation by their employers. In a 6-3 decision the Court answered yes, the ADEA prohibits a federal agency from retaliating against employees who complain of age discrimination.
The case, Gomez-Perez v. Potter, involved a U.S. Post Office employee who claimed she was discriminated against by her manager because of her age. After she complained, she was denied a transfer request and suffered other adverse employment actions. She filed suit claiming illegal age discrimination and retaliation but the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit dismissed her claim, holding that the ADEA did not give federal employees a claim for retaliation. The Supreme Court disagreed, and now federal employees have the same protections against retaliation that private sector employees possess.
The two cases are significant victories for employees. They give greater protections to employees who complain of discrimination and provide additional penalties to employers who retaliate against employees. Equally as important, they demonstrate the