Supreme Court Strengthens Protections in Title VII Cases

Yesterday, the Supreme Court handed down a decision in Crawford v. Nashville which strengthened employees’ protections against retaliation by their employers during the investigation of employment discrimination cases. Vicky Crawford was an employee of the city government of Nashville, TN, who cooperated with an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment by another city employee. Following the investigation, the employee who had committed the sexual harassment was not punished or removed from his position, but Ms. Crawford was fired by the city. She brought a Title VII discrimination suit against the city of Nashville, alleging that the termination of her employment was retaliation, which is illegal under Title VII. Lower courts had ruled that she was not protected by Title VII, as she did not bring the sex harassment claim against the employee under investigation. The Supreme Court reversed that decision, ruling that she was entitled to protection from retaliation under Title VII.

The decision (PDF) was unanimous and written by Justice Souter. Justices Alito and Thomas also filed a concurring opinion.

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