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City of Ontario, Calif. v. Quan, No. 08-1332 (U.S. S. Ct. Dec. 14, 2009); Thompson v. North American Stainless, No. 09-291 (U.S. S. Ct. Dec. 14, 2009)

| Dec 13, 2009 | Daily Developments in EEO Law |

Though granting cert in no straight employment cases today (the last day before adjournment for the holidays), our U.S. Supreme Court issues in orders in two employment-related disputes concerning privacy and retaliation.

In the Quon case, a 2008 Ninth Circuit decision (with a dissent from denial of rehearing in 2009), the question presented was whether a police department’s interception of text-messengering by a SWAT-team officer, on a pager issued by the department, violated the Fourth Amendment.  A jury found that it did, and a panel of the Ninth Circuit affirmed the verdict, but eight judges of the Ninth Circuit issued a stinging dissent complaining about the mischievous consequences of that decision (answered, in turn, by a concurrence in denial of rehearing by the author of the original panel decision).

In the Thompson case, the Supreme Court invited the Solicitor General’s views on a pending petition, seeking reversal of the Sixth Circuit ‘s en banc decision holding (10-6) that the federal anti-retaliation statutes do not create a claim for third-parties (such as friends and family) who suffer retaliation because of the protected activities of another employee. The decision under review is posted here.

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