In Jackson v. Birmingham Board of Education, in which the National Women’s Law Center represented plaintiff Roderick Jackson, the Supreme Court ruled in 2005 that individuals are protected under Title IX if they are retaliated against for protesting sex discrimination in their schools. Justice O’Connor wrote the decision for the Court (which split 5-4), in which she recognized that even though retaliation is not specifically mentioned in the statute, “if retaliation were not prohibited, Title IX’s enforcement scheme would unravel.”
Jackson recently proved to be directly on point when the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that an associate manager of a Cracker Barrel restaurant who contended that he had been fired because he complained about the unequal treatment of African-American employees could seek relief under Section 1981, another civil rights law that does not explicitly protect against retaliation (Humphries v. CBOCS West, Inc.). The court saw no basis for treating Section 1981 differently from Title IX. So, a good Supreme Court decision led to another good decision protecting victims of race discrimination.