Monday, January 23, 2006

United States Supreme Court grants cert to review scope of Title VII "anti-retaliation" provisions in case where Burlington Northern Railroad is the Defendant from Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals (Tennessee); Eighth circuit has ruled against employees on this issueJones Day Law Firm. SCOTUS has accepted cert in Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Co. v. White from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals where employee complained that unfavorable employee assignments and disciplinary actions against her followed her making a Title VII complaint against Burlington Railroad. Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Co. v. White, (6th Circuit cert granted ) The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held that Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Co. unlawfully retaliated (42 U.S.C. § 2000e-3(a) (section 704(a) of Title VII) against Sheila White by making "materially adverse" changes to White’s terms of employment after she complained about sexual harassment—specifically, by transferring her to a more strenuous job and by temporarily suspending her without pay while investigating an unrelated act of insubordination. Eight other federal courts of appeals, like the Sixth Circuit, define retaliation as a "materially adverse" change in terms of employment because of an employee’s complaint about discrimination. The Eighth Circuit disagreed in Montandon v. Farmland Indus., Inc. (8th Cir. 1997); Manning v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., Inc. (8th Cir. 1997), holding that the "ultimate employment decision" test applies to determining whether unlawful retailiation has taken place.

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