Discriminated workers and workplace discrimination lawyers in Tennessee and across the U.S. received a boost last week when the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act became law, allowing discriminated employees facing unequal wages to sue for disparate pay. (Read more in last week’s Tennessee Law Blog’s Pay Discrimination Law Passes Senate). But this wasn’t the only big event in Tennessee employment law last week.
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court (the same Court that in 2007 found against Ms. Ledbetter and previous lower courts’ decisions on the statute of limitations allowed by EEOC inquiries) found unanimously in favor of Nashville, TN-local Vicky Crawford in her sexual harassment retaliation lawsuit.
Crawford, former payroll manager for and 30-year employee of Metro Nashville, sued the school district for harassment she claims was based on her testimony during a sexual harassment investigation. While discrimination law allows retaliation protections to the sexually harassed person who files a discrimination lawsuit, federal workplace law was previous to last week unclear whether it offered retaliation protections to persons not directly sexually harassed, as Crawford’s case. The U.S. District Court in Nashville had previously dismissed the lawsuit as did the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. (Read the original Tennessee Law Blog story on the Crawford discrimination retaliation lawsuit here)
The High Court’s decision allows Crawford to proceed with her sexual harassment lawsuit against the City of Nashville. According to the Tennessean, Attorney Frank Young, who is representing Metro government in this harassment case, has stated that the Court’s decision “clarified the law” but does not decide Crawford’s case, which will now be heard in federal court in Nashville.
If you have suffered TN workplace sexual harassment or have been fired or your career has suffered from retaliation for your speaking out against sexual discrimination or other discrimination at your workplace and would like a free consultation with a Tennessee workplace attorney, contact the Higgins Firm.
Our lawyers at Higgins Firm’s employment law branch specialize in federal employment law, including workplace discrimination and harassment, and state employment law in Georgia, Tennessee, and Kentucky. Contact me, Attorney Jim Higgins, or one of my employment law associates by calling our Nashville law offices at 615-353-0930 or by filling our employment law attorney contact form. No loyal worker should be treated unfairly by another’s bigotry or be forced to suffer retaliation for only doing the right thing.