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June 23, 2006

BIG Win for Employees at Supreme Court

How rightwing is the Bush administration when it argues to screw workers on behalf of corporate American-- and even Scalia and his rightwing brethren reject its position?

In a sea of worsening legal doctrine on discrimination, the Supreme Court just handed down a decision, by a 9-0 vote, that clearly protects employees who demand that their employers end discrimination in the workplace from any kind of retaliation. Before this decision, there had been debate in the courts whether minor forms of discipline for filing discrimination charges made companies liable for fines and punishment under US discrimination law. But in this case:

The decision upheld a finding of retaliation by a railroad company against a female maintenance worker who was transferred to less desirable duties within her job category and placed on an unpaid leave for 37 days after she complained about sexual harassment. She was reinstated with back pay after a grievance by her union.. A jury awarded $43,500 to the woman...
The Supreme Court upheld that fine, which means that companies can't steal pay from workers, intimidate them, then just give the money they stole back when called to account. Now they can expect more serious penalties for violating the law, which will hopefully more employees to stand up and demand decent treatment.

As the article linked to argues:

Retaliation claims make up an important and rapidly growing part of employment law. Some 20,000 retaliation cases were filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2004, a number that has doubled since 1992. The cases now account for more than one-quarter of the federal agency's docket.

"This is an exceptionally important decision that changes the law in most of the country," Eric Schnapper, a law professor at the University of Washington who helped represent the plaintiff in the case, said in an interview

So this is a decision worth celebrating.

Posted by Nathan at June 23, 2006 07:12 AM