Washington Law Review


Alex B. Long


Until fairly recently, the narrative regarding employment retaliation plaintiffs has been that the federal courts—and the Supreme Court in particular—are generally sympathetic to employees claiming illegal workplace retaliation. This narrative has changed drastically over the past few years, to the point that there has been a backlash among courts to the initial wave of plaintiff success. In this respect, the evolution of retaliation law largely tracks the evolution of disability law. This Article argues that the evolution of these areas of the law illustrates a simple but fundamental point about the interpretation of statutes regulating the workplace at present: unless the text of the statute strongly supports a reading that limits the discretion traditionally afforded to employers under the employment at-will doctrine, courts, as a general rule, will not adopt that reading, nor will they apply the statute in that manner.

First Page