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Another Victory in the Fight Against Sexual Harassment

Supreme Court
Supreme Court
Selene Kaye,
Director, Liberty Division,
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January 27, 2009

The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that speaking out about sexual harassment at work shouldn’t cost you your job. This comes on the tails of last week’s ruling that students who are sexually harassed can bring claims under both Title IX and Section 1983 (see post about the Fitzgerald decision). In yesterday’s decision in Crawford v. Nashville, the court ruled unanimously that Vicky Crawford, who was fired from her job after she participated in her employer’s internal investigation of sexual harassment, can sue her employer for retaliation.

The decision reversed the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, saying that employees are protected by Title VII’s anti-retaliation provision even if they did not initiate the allegations of discrimination, but reported discrimination in response to being questioned by investigators.

Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits employment discrimination, including harassment, on the basis of race or sex. It also protects employees from retaliation for opposing any unlawful discrimination.

The amicus brief filed in this case by the ACLU and numerous other civil rights groups is available here.

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