Gomez-Perez v. Potter
Gomez-Perez v. Potter, 553 U.S. 474 (2008), is a US labor law case of the United States Supreme Court holding that federal employees can assert claims for retaliation resulting from filing an age discrimination complaint. The case continued the Court's long-standing position that cause for action following retaliation can be inferred in civil rights legislation, even though the law does not explicitly provide protection against victimization.
|Gomez-Perez v. Potter|
|Argued February 19, 2008|
Decided May 27, 2008
|Full case name||Myrna Gomez-Perez, Petitioner v. John E. Potter, Postmaster General|
|Citations||553 U.S. 474 (more)|
128 S. Ct. 1931; 170 L. Ed. 2d 887
|Federal employees who face retaliation after filing an age discrimination claim are authorized to sue under the federal-sector provision of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967.|
|Majority||Alito, joined by Stevens, Kennedy, Souter, Ginsburg, Breyer|
|Dissent||Roberts, joined by Scalia, Thomas (all except for Part I)|
|Dissent||Thomas, joined by Scalia|
|Federal-sector provision of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), as added, 88 Stat. 74, and amended, 29 U. S. C. §633a(a) (2000 ed., Supp. V|
The case is important because it signaled a willingness by recently appointed Justice Samuel Alito to continue the Court's expansive interpretation of civil rights laws.
Myrna Gómez-Pérez worked for the United States Postal Service as a part-time window distribution clerk in Puerto Rico. Ms. Gómez-Pérez sought a transfer to a full-time position; however, her supervisor denied her request. Ms. Gómez-Pérez alleged that the supervisor denied the request based on her age and filed an EEO complaint on the basis of age discrimination. Subsequently Ms. Gómez-Pérez alleged that, as a result of filing her complaint, in retaliation she was subjected to a series of reprisals that included groundless charges of sexual harassment, substantial reductions in her hours, and being harassed and mocked by her co-workers. As a result, she filed a retaliation complaint.
Opinion of the CourtEdit
The Supreme Court held that federal employees can assert claims for retaliation resulting from filing an age discrimination complaint.
Even though it is not explicitly in the Civil Rights Act, the existence of the right can be inferred from the Act's scheme, as necessary to make the rights effective.
- Text of Gomez-Perez v. Potter, 553 U.S. 474 (2008) is available from: Cornell Findlaw Justia Oyez (oral argument audio) Supreme Court (slip opinion)