Appeals Court Says Discriminatory Job Transfers Must Be Treated Like Other Discriminatory Acts
Court overturns precedent that required Plaintiffs to make an additional showing of "objectively tangible harm" in cases involving job transfers.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit overturned a 1999 precedent this month and ruled that a discriminatory job transfer should be treated like other discriminatory acts under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
In an 11-1 decision, the majority overturned a precedential 1999 ruling that held denying or forcing a worker to accept a job transfer is actionable under Title VII only if the plaintiff can show there is “objectively tangible harm.”
The new ruling puts job transfers on the same footing as dismissals, demotions and types of employment discrimination.
The Constitutional Accountability Center, a D.C. think tank, filed an amicus brief in case called the decision “an important victory for all workers, making clear that individuals can seek redress under Title VII for discriminatory job transfer, as the text and history of Title VII require.”
According to the appeals court, the plain language of Title VII makes no distinction between job transfers and other discriminatory acts. “[W]e ought to read Title VII to mean what it says—that it prohibits any “discriminat[ion] against [an] individual with respect to . . . terms, conditions, or privileges of employment… even if that that discrimination is ‘garden- variety.’”