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Supreme Court Dismisses Title VII Retaliation Claim

The Supreme Court today dismissed a retaliation claim filed under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Title VII prohibits retaliation against employees who complain of discrimination, including sexual harassment. The case involves a female employee who believed that a sexually explicit statement read by a supervisor during a review of applications constituted sexual harassment. The Supreme Court determined that “no reasonable person” could believe that what happened to this plaintiff could be considered sexual harassment, and thus, the Court reasoned, the ensuing actions of the employer (including transferring the woman to a job with less supervisory authority) could not be considered retaliation. Further, the Court stated that the woman failed to show that her employer’s subsequent actions were directly related to her complaint.

Sources:

U.S. Supreme Court, Clark County School District v. Breeden, 2001 and Associated Press and New York Times - April 23, 2001

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