This editorial appeared in The (Tacoma) News Tribune.
One would think that federal law protected a person who cooperated with investigators looking into sexual harassment claims.
But one would have been wrong – until Monday's U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
Incredibly, a federal appeals court had ruled that civil rights law protected the person who brought the sexual harassment claim – but not a co-worker who provides information supporting the claim.
Vicky Crawford, a 30-year employee of a Tennessee school system, cooperated with an investigation looking into allegations of misconduct that had been made about her supervisor (ironically, the schools' employee relations director).
Crawford herself had not complained; she said she feared losing her job. But when asked about him as part of an internal investigation, she described what Justice David Souter described as "sexually obnoxious" behavior. For instance, Crawford said, he would grab his genitals and ask her to show her breasts.
The supervisor kept his job with only a verbal reprimand – and turned around and fired Crawford and two other women who said he had harassed them. She sued under civil rights law that bars retaliation against those who oppose unlawful employment practices.
To read the complete editorial, visit The (Tacoma) News Tribune.