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Supreme Court decision will make it easier to sue over job transfers

On Behalf of | Apr 17, 2024 | Sex Discrimination |

The Supreme Court has ruled that workers who are forced to transfer from one job to another can file discrimination claims under federal law. Workers can take legal action even if they were not demoted or suffered a cut in pay, the court said.

Justice Elena Kagan wrote for the unanimous court in Muldrow v. St. Louis, 22-193: “Today, we disapprove that approach. Although an employee must show some harm from a forced transfer to prevail in a Title VII suit, she need not show that the injury satisfies a significance test.”

The court’s decision was published on April 17, 2024.

Facts of the case

The court’s decision arose from a sex discrimination case in the St. Louis Police Department, where a female sergeant worked in a plainclothes role in the department’s intelligence division. A new commander in the division transferred the sergeant to a uniformed position where she supervised patrol officers. The commander reportedly wanted a male in the intelligence job and sometimes referred to the plaintiff as “Mrs.” instead of “sergeant.”

Losses in lower courts

The woman brought her legal action under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed workplace discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion and national origin. Lower courts dismissed the woman’s claim on the basis that she had not suffered sufficient damage.

What happens next?

The Supreme Court’s decision means the plaintiff’s original lawsuit can be sent back to lower courts for litigation.

If you have questions about employment discrimination, contact an attorney who is experienced in this area of the law.


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