Today, the U.S. Supreme Court held that a Title VII plaintiff challenging a job transfer that was allegedly ordered because of her sex but did not result in a decrease in pay or benefits may still state a claim for relief if she can show the transfer brought about some harm with respect to an identifiable term or condition of employment.  The identifiable harm she must demonstrate need not be significant.  In Muldrow v. City of St. Louis, the plaintiff-employee brought suit against her employer after she was transferred from her job as a plainclothes officer to a uniformed officer position.  Her pay and rank remained the same, however, her schedule, responsibilities and perks changed.  Rather than working with high-ranking department officials on priority issues, her new work involved supervising the day-to-day activities of patrol officers and she lost access to the departmental vehicle she was able to take home.

The district court granted summary judgment and the court of appeals affirmed because Muldrow had not suffered a materially significant disadvantage and the job transfer made only minor changes to our working conditions and no changes to her title salary or benefits.  The Supreme Court reversed holding that while the plaintiff must show that the transfer brought about some harm with respect to an identifiable term or condition of employment, that harm need not be significant.  Further, the Court stated that the harms identified by Muldrow which included a less advantage work schedule, loss of a department vehicle and change in responsibilities met “that test with room to spare.”  Consequently, the Court reversed the summary judgment and remanded the case back to the trial court for further proceedings.

A full copy of the Court’s opinion is available here.