U.S. Supreme Court

Case Status


Docket Number



2007 Term

Oral Argument Date

February 20, 2008


Questions Presented

Is a race retaliation claim cognizable under 42 U.S.C. §1981?

Case Updates

Supreme Court addresses retaliation claims under 42 U.S.C. §1981

May 27, 2008

The Supreme Court held that a retaliation claim exists under 42 USC §1981. The Court’s decision will allow employees to bypass the procedural safeguards for retaliation claims included under Title VII, which contains a specific cause of action for retaliation, as well as mandatory conciliation procedures and a shorter statute of limitations.

U.S. Chamber files amicus brief

November 21, 2007

NCLC urged the Supreme Court to reverse a Seventh Circuit decision allowing retaliation claims to be filed under 42 USC § 1981. Section 1981 protects the rights of all persons to make and enforce contracts without respect to race. Unlike Title VII, which contains a specific cause of action for retaliation, nothing in the plain language of §1981 allows for retaliation claims. In its brief, NCLC argued that the Seventh circuit decision expands the scope of Section 1981 claims to include retaliation and undermines Title VII’s comprehensive enforcement and conciliation scheme. To hold otherwise would allow an employee claiming to have suffered retaliation for reporting race discrimination to file a lawsuit under Section 1981 well outside of Title VII’s limitations period, and without Title VII’s mandatory conciliation procedures.

Case Documents