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ADL Welcomes Supreme Court Decision Upholding Employee's Right To Sue In Racism Case


New York, NY, May 27, 2008 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed the 7–2 decision by the United States Supreme Court that upheld the right of an African-American man to sue his employer for firing him when he complained about racism at his workplace.


ADL had joined with a broad coalition of civil rights groups in submitting an amicus brief in the case, CBOCS West, Inc.  v. Hendrick G. Humphries.


"This Supreme Court opinion helps to ensure that racism can find no sanctuary in American law," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.  "By further cementing the right of victims of illegal discrimination to complain without fear of reprisal, this decision represents a significant step forward in the fight for racial justice in America.   Without protection from retaliation, victims would have to think twice about seeking to enforce their rights to equal opportunity and equal protection of the law."


Hendrick Humphries, an African-American associate manager at a Cracker Barrel restaurant, alleged that he was fired because he had complained to managers that a fellow assistant manager had wrongfully dismissed another black employee.  He sued his employer under 42 U.S.C. § 1981, which protects the rights of all Americans to enter into contracts regardless of race.  


ADL joined with the nearly 200 organizations that comprise the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and urged the Court to find that such retaliation, by definition, deprives the victim of the benefits of a contractual relationship.


ADL's brief in this case continues its longstanding tradition of advocacy in the courts to secure equal justice for all Americans.  The League's very first brief in the United States Supreme Court dealt with this same provision of law in the landmark 1948 case of Shelley v Kraemer. 

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

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ADL Urges High Court to Empower Employees to Report Racial Discrimination
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2008 Anti-Defamation League