Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, and national origin. Persons seeking legal relief because they were subjected to such employment discrimination must first file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). If the EEOC declines to pursue the case, the employment discrimination victim may sue in federal court. In what is known as the antiretaliation provision, Title VII makes it "an unlawful employment practice for an employer to discriminate against any of his employees. because he has made a charge" under Title VII. The statute also permits "a person claiming to be aggrieved" to file a charge with the EEOC alleging that the employer committed an unlawful employment practice. If the EEOC declines to sue the employer, Title VII permits a lawsuit to be "brought . by the person claiming to be aggrieved . by the alleged unlawful employment practice." Miriam Regalado and her fiancé, Eric Thompson, were employees of North American Stainless, LP (NAS). Three weeks after the EEOC notified NAS that Regalado had filed a charge alleging that NAS had discriminated against her on the basis of sex, NAS fired Thompson. He then filed a charge with the EEOC. After conciliation efforts failed, Thompson sued NAS under Title VII, claiming that NAS had fired him in order to retaliate against Regalado for filing her charge with the EEOC. A federal district court ruled in favor of NAS, reasoning that Thompson's claim should be rejected because Title VII's antiretaliation provision does not permit "third-party" retaliation claims. After a federal court of appeals upheld the lower court's decision, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to decide the case. How did the Supreme Court rule? Did NAS's firing of Thompson constitute unlawful retaliation? If it did, was Thompson entitled to sue under Title VII?
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