8. Associational Retaliation. In Thompson v. North Am. Stainless, the 6th Circuit reversed itself and held that retaliation is only actionable in a suit by a primary actor who engaged in protected activity, and not by a passive bystander. This decision, which rejected a retaliation claim by the fiancée of an employee who had engaged in protected activity, has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Supremes have asked for the view of the federal government before it decides whether to hear this case. Expect more on this issue in 2010.
7. Genetic Information Discrimination. On November 21, it became illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of genetic information, creating the first new federally protected class in nearly two decades.