Ramona Johnson, a Secret Service agent married to a Secret Service Agent, says she was denied a transfer to Miami, where her husband had been moved because he had filed a discrimination charge based on his race.
Johnson alleged the denial of the transfer was retaliation either because of his protected activity (a third party retaliation claim) or because the Secret Service perceived that she had been involved in his charge (the perception claim). Last week she survived a motion for summary judgment with Judge Richard W. Roberts holding (pdf) that there is at least a factual dispute on the perception claim.
Given that there is at least an arguable split in the circuits, discussed by Judge Roberts in his opinion, this could be potential Supreme Court material. Frankly, given how employers have fared in recent years before the Supreme Court on retaliation, I would just as soon not see that happen.
There’s a long road between this ruling (which was really a Motion to Dismiss converted to an early MSJ) and the Supreme Court though.
Hat tip to the DLR for catching this opinion. Their article is here. ($)