Defendant’s argument that Plaintiff’s claims should be dismissed because she did not engage in a protected activity is directly contradicted by the Supreme Court’s recent holding in Thompson v. North American Stainless, LP, 200 U.S. 321 (2011). The Supreme Court held that an individual can state a cause of action for retaliation, even if they did not engage in a protected activity, if they fall within the zone of interest of someone else’s complaint. Id. In Thompson, it was the employee’s fiancé who was protected from retaliation based on her complaints of discrimination. The Supreme Court relied on its holding in Burlington, “which prohibits any…action that “ ‘well might have “dissuaded a reasonable [worker] from making or supporting a [discrimination] charge,” ’” id., at 68.” The Supreme Court went on to hold that “a reasonable worker obviously might be dissuaded from engaging in protected activity if she knew that her fiancé would be fired. Pp. 2–4.” Id.
And if the Supreme Court held that a reasonable worker might be dissuaded from engaging in a protected activity if she knew her fiancé would be fired, then a reasonable parent might be dissuaded from engaging in a protected activity if he knew his children were going to be expelled. A school board cannot fire a parent for making a Title IX complaint unless the parent works at the school or has some other connection with the school, but a school board can retaliate by threatening to or actually expelling the child from school. Like the fiancé in Thompson, a child is not an accidental victim of retaliation. A father engaged in the protected activity of complaining about Title IX discrimination and retaliation and Defendant expelled or attempted to expel the child from school because of her father’s complaints two and a half months earlier.