Supreme Court Commentaries
Constitutional Law | Law
On June 22, 2006, the United States Supreme Court broadened the purview of the anti-retaliation provision of Title VII in all circuits but one when it held that the provision prohibits those employer actions that would be considered materially adverse by a reasonable employee, regardless of whether such actions occurred at the workplace or were related to employment. In so holding, the Supreme Court did three things worthy of comment. First, the Court expunged the confusion caused by disparate and incompatible treatments of the anti-retaliation provision by the circuit courts. Second, by subjecting all employer action to review, the Court reassured employees that by pursuing or assisting the pursuit of a discrimination claim an employee need not endure, without recourse, those dissuasive actions of his or her employer that are marginally work-related. Third, by instituting a coherent materially adverse standard, the Court assuaged a common fear of employers that any workplace conduct chronologically proximate to a claim of discrimination is kindling for an anti-retaliation claim.
Christian J. Brann, Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway Co. v. White, 2 Duke Journal of Constitutional Law & Public Policy Sidebar 25-37 (2007).