Supreme Court’s latest ruling empowers workers seeking justice against employers: FOX 10 Phoenix.

Supreme Court's latest ruling empowers workers seeking justice against employers: FOX 10 Phoenix.

Workers Who are Transferred Against Their Will Can Sue Employers for Job Discrimination, Supreme Court Rules

Workers Who are Transferred Against Their Will Can Sue Employers for Job Discrimination, Supreme Court Rules

Overview of the Ruling

A unanimous Supreme Court ruling, written by Justice Elena Kagan, has made it easier for employees who are transferred to sue their employers for job discrimination. In particular, the ruling will help those who were transferred due to discrimination based on sex to pursue their claims under federal civil rights law. The case that led to the ruling involved a St. Louis police sergeant who was reassigned to another position, but retained her rank and pay. She sued her employer under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits workplace discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, and national origin. The lower courts had initially dismissed her claim but Wednesday’s ruling overturned that decision.

The Details of the Lawsuit

Sgt. Jaytonya Muldrow had worked in the department’s intelligence division for nine years before a new commander reassigned her to a uniformed position where she supervised patrol officers. The new commander reportedly preferred a male officer in the intelligence job and referred to Muldrow as “Mrs.” instead of “sergeant.” Muldrow’s lawsuit claimed that she had been transferred due to sex discrimination and that she suffered harm as a result.

The Supreme Court’s Ruling

Justice Kagan’s ruling determined that workers who are transferred against their will can pursue job discrimination claims under federal civil rights law even if they are not demoted or docked pay. Specifically, the workers only need to show that the transfer led to some harm, rather than having to satisfy a significant harm requirement. This ruling is a departure from previous decisions that set a higher bar for harm in such cases. The Supreme Court’s decision revives Muldrow’s lawsuit, which will return to lower courts for further evaluation.

The Impact of the Ruling

Kagan acknowledged that many previous cases may have had different outcomes had the lower bar adopted by the Supreme Court been in place. For example, previous cases involving an engineer who was assigned to a wind tunnel, a shipping worker who worked exclusively at night, and a school principal reassigned to a non-school administrative role may have concluded differently. The ruling is a significant win for employees who are transferred based on gender or sex discrimination, as it makes it clearer that employers cannot discriminate in job assignments based on gender or race. This ruling could also make it easier for employees in similar situations to pursue legal action when they are transferred to positions that may not be as prestigious or require additional work hours, such as weekends.


The Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in the Muldrow v. St. Louis case has made it easier for employees to sue their employers over job discrimination, especially those who are transferred to less favorable positions. The ruling will be particularly helpful to employees who feel that they have been discriminated against based on sex or gender. The court has made it clear that employers cannot make job assignments based on a worker’s race, sex, religion, or national origin, and must ensure that all employees are treated fairly and equally. The ruling sets a significant precedent that will likely influence future decisions on job discrimination cases.

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