Gomez-Perez v. Potter: The Facts
The case of Gomez-Perez v. Potter was a matter heard before the United States Supreme Court. The court in this landmark case held that federal employees may assert claims for retaliation resulting from filing age discrimination complaints. The issues surrounding Gomez-Perez v. Potter questioned the court’s long-standing position that cause for action following retaliation can be taken or inferred in civil rights acts or legislation that does not provide protection against such retaliation. The case of Gomez-Perez v. Potter is crucial because it represents a willingness to continue the Supreme Court’s expansive interpretation of civil rights laws in the United States.
The case of Gomez-Perez v. Potter was argued before the United States Supreme Court on February 19th of 2008 and decided on May 27th of the same year. The case of Gomez-Perez v. Potter was presided over by Chief Justice John Roberts and the following associate justices: John Stevens; David Souter; Ruth Bader Ginsburg; Anthony Kennedy; Antonin Scalia; Samuel Alito; Stephen Breyer; and Clarence Thomas.
Gomez-Perez v. Potter: The Background
The case of Gomez-Perez v. Potter features Myrna Fomez-Perez, a clerk for the United States Postal Service in Puerto Rico. Mrs. Gomez alleged that while employed she was the victim of retaliatory treatment after filing an age discrimination suit against her supervisors. This complaint was granted summary judgment to the USPS on the grounds that the United States had failed to waive sovereign immunity as a means of retaliation under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.
Gomez appealed the decision to the United States Court of Appeals in the First Circuit. On appeal, the court held that Potter and the UPS waived sovereign immunity with respect to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act suits, but that section 15 of the legislation does not offer nor provide a cause of action for retaliation by federal employers.
The case, which made its way to the Supreme Court as Gomez-Perez v. Potter therefore asked whether or not the ADEA prohibits retaliation against employees of the federal government.
Gomez-Perez v. Potter: Ruling
The Supreme Court of the United States in Gomez-Perez v. Potter held that the ADEA does in fact prohibit retaliation against federal employees. The 6 to 3 vote in Gomez-Perez v. Potter was therefore ruled in favor of Gomez-Perez.
The majority opinion, offered by Justice Samuel Alito, was built on prior court rulings which held that retaliation is covered by similar language in other anti-discrimination laws. In Gomez-Perez v. Potter, the United States Supreme Court concluded that Congress intended to include a retaliation prohibition within the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Dissenting opinions in Gomez-Perez v. Potter were filed by Associate Justices John Roberts and Clarence Thomas.