Skip to Content

Supreme Court makes it easier to sue employers for job transfers

By John Fritze, CNN

(CNN) — The Supreme Court on Wednesday made it easier for people to sue employers for discrimination when they are transferred against their will.

The unanimous decision, written by Justice Elena Kagan, sided with a St. Louis police sergeant who claims her department discriminated against her when it forced her to transfer out of an intelligence division but did not dock her pay.

At issue in the case was whether Jatonya Clayborn Muldrow could sue for sex discrimination even though the 8th US Circuit Court of Appeals found that she had not suffered a “materially significant” disadvantage because of the transfer.

Muldrow was initially assigned to a division in which she was able to work weekdays, wear plainclothes and take part in an FBI taskforce that gave her access to an unmarked vehicle. In 2017, she was reassigned and while she retained her base pay, she was required to work some weekends, wear a police uniform and lost her FBI credentials.

“Although an employee must show some harm from a forced transfer,” Kagan wrote, “she need not show that the injury satisfies a significance test.”

Muldrow sued the city under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination in the workplace.

Two lower federal courts sided with the city against Muldrow’s gender discrimination and retaliation claims. Muldrow’s case will now continue in a lower federal court.

“Muldrow need show only some injury respecting her employment terms or conditions,” Kagan wrote. “The transfer must have left her worse off, but need not have left her significantly so.”

If Muldrow’s allegations are proven, Kagan continued, “she was left worse off several times over.”

Conservative Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh agreed with the outcome but wrote separately to question the court’s rationale.

Alito described Kagan’s opinion as “unhelpful,” adding he had “no idea” what standard the majority was setting for when employees could sue over such transfers.

“The predictable result of today’s decision is that careful lower court judges will mind the words they use but will continue to do pretty much just what they have done for years,” Alito wrote.

™ & © 2024 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

Jump to comments ↓

CNN Newsource


News Channel 3 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content