“Title VII claims require an employment relationship between plaintiff and defendant.”


The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit confirmed that only employees – and not third parties – may bring claims under Title VII.

In Simmons v. UBS Financial Services, Inc., the plaintiff was a wholesaler of life insurance products to UBS clients, working from the UBS offices. His daughter, who was a UBS employee, filed a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for pregnancy discrimination. She eventually resigned and settled her claim with UBS. The father was then denied access to the UBS office and clients, which resulted in his separation from his own employer. He then sued UBS, alleging that he was the target of UBS’ retaliatory animus against his daughter.

The Fifth Circuit summarily threw out the claim, finding that the father was not within the “zone of interests” of Title VII. As the Fifth Circuit stated, “ Title VII protects employees from the unlawful acts of their employers.  It does not—even arguably—protect nonemployees from mistreatment by someone else’s employer.”