UW School of Law Professor Eric Schnapper will argue for the plaintiff in Crawford v. Metro Nashville on October 8 in a legal case that could have significant impact on U.S. employment law. The case examines the anti-retaliation provisions and protections of the Civil Rights Act and justices could use the case to set new precedents in workplace harassment federal laws.
This is not Schnapper's first visit to the nation's highest court. He has handled more than 70 Supreme Court cases, including his most recent victory in CBOCS West, Inc. v. Humphries (May 27, 2008).
In Crawford v. Metro Nashville Vicky Crawford had worked for Metro for thirty years before being fired in November of 2002. She was one of three administrative employees at Metro Nashville Public Schools who told investigators they had been subjected to sexual harassment by the employee relations director for the school district. Crawford had not initiated the probe but she gave details of behavior by Hughes when interviewed. Not long afterward, Crawford and the other two employees who had spoken out were accused of various misdeeds and fired.
Crawford sued, claiming she had been retaliated against for what she said in her interview. She argued that employees cooperating with an internal investigation are subject to the protections of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. That measure forbids employers from persecuting workplace whistleblowers.