Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The inescapable conclusion of justice for all?...

An unexpectedly compassionate Supreme Court decision yesterday - not only unanimous but authored by Justice Antonin Scalia no less - in an unlawful retaliation case.

As the ABA Journal reports, the court held that an employee who was fired after his fiance filed a discrimination complaint, may himself sue under Title VII. Lower courts (and all previous decisions) had held that only the employee who filed the discrimination complaint was among the class of persons sought to be protected by federal law.

This time however, SCOTUS found:
“We conclude that Thompson falls within the zone of interests protected by Title VII,” Scalia wrote. “Thompson was an employee of NAS, and the purpose of Title VII is to protect employees from their employers’ unlawful actions. Moreover, accepting the facts as alleged, Thompson is not an accidental victim of the retaliation—collateral damage, so to speak, of the employer’s unlawful act. To the contrary, injuring him was the employer’s intended means of harming Regalado. Hurting him was the unlawful act by which the employer punished her. In those circumstances, we think Thompson well within the zone of interests sought to be protected by Title VII.”
You can read the opinion here.

Now this doesn't have anything to do with animals... directly... but...

It does seem to me that if a fiance is within the zone of interests to be protected from discrimination against his betrothed... then why couldn't a person be within the zone of interests to be protected from harm to their companion animal... (think IIED or even NIED, for example...) Seems to me the latter presents an even stronger case in some respects: a fiance is technically not even related, whereas a person does have a formal, legal relationship to an owned animal. Moreover, the Thompson analysis turned not so much on the underlying parties as the conduct of the defendant.

I'm just sayin'.

1 comment:

Sam1847 said...

I would like to send you a press release from the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics about a new book series on animal ethics including 'An Introduction to Animals and the Law' by Joan Schaffner. Please contact me with your email address. Many thanks. Sam Calvert (sam@samcalvert.plus.com)