Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Relying on Jackson, Court Finds Retaliation Actionable Under State Law

Jackson v. Birmingham Board of Education continues to send ripples through discrimination law beyond the Title IX context. Relying in part on that decision, a California appellate court recently construed a state employment discrimination statute to protect plaintiffs from retaliation for opposing discrimination by the employer:
Looking to analogous federal statutory construction, in its analysis of retaliation under Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments 20 U.S.C.S. § 1681 et seq), the United States Supreme Court announced that "retaliation is discrimination 'on the basis of sex' because it is an intentional response to the nature of the complaint: an allegation of sex discrimination." (Jackson v. Birmingham Bd. of Educ. (2005) 544 U.S. 167, 174, 125 S.Ct. 1497, 161 L.Ed.2d 361.) The court concluded that "when a funding recipient retaliates against a person because he complains of sex discrimination, this constitutes intentional 'discrimination' 'on the basis of sex,' in violation of Title IX. The Court reasoned that it was error to conclude that Title IX does not prohibit retaliation because the "'statute makes no mention of retaliation'" ignores the import of its repeated holdings "construing 'discrimination' under Title IX broadly." In accordance with these views and the fundamental public policy of eliminating discrimination in the workplace under the [California Fair Employment and Housing Act], we conclude that retaliation is a form of discrimination actionable under section 12940, subdivision (k).
The plaintiff in this case, Eric Taylor can now bring his case against the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. Taylor alleges that he lost his job as a Department engineer after he challenged the Department's decision to terminate another employee on the basis of his race.
2006 WL 3350725

No comments: