Though granting cert in no straight employment cases today (the last day before adjournment for the holidays), our U.S. Supreme Court issues in orders in two employment-related disputes concerning privacy and retaliation.
In the Quon case, a 2008 Ninth Circuit decision (with a dissent from denial of rehearing in 2009), the question presented was whether a police departmentâ€™s interception of text-messengering by a SWAT-team officer, on a pager issued by the department, violated the Fourth Amendment. A jury found that it did, and a panel of the Ninth Circuit affirmed the verdict, but eight judges of the Ninth Circuit issued a stinging dissent complaining about the mischievous consequences of that decision (answered, in turn, by a concurrence in denial of rehearing by the author of the original panel decision).
In the Thompson case, the Supreme Court invited the Solicitor Generalâ€™s views on a pending petition, seeking reversal of the Sixth Circuit â€˜s en banc decision holding (10-6) that the federal anti-retaliation statutes do not create a claim for third-parties (such as friends and family) who suffer retaliation because of the protected activities of another employee. The decision under review is posted here.