Does a Transfer Constitute an Adverse Employment Action?

When an employer terminates, suspends, or demotes an employee who engages in activity protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it can give rise to a Title VII retaliation claim. Often times, an employer will engage in less obvious forms of retaliation, such as transferring an employee to a different shift or location. If such a transfer does not coincide with a demotion, or reduction in pay (also referred to as a “lateral transfer”), does an employee have a viable basis for a retaliation claim?

The short answer is “maybe.” In order to establish a Title VII retaliation claim, an employee has to demonstrate that he or she has been subjected to an adverse employment action. A transfer may constitute an adverse employment action when the facts surrounding the transfer would compel a reasonable person to conclude that the transfer involved a serious reduction in prestige or responsibility. In other words, retaliation claims can arise from more than just pay reductions and terminations.

An experienced employment attorney can assess the facts of your case and determine whether you have a viable Title VII retaliation claim against your employer.

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