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Supreme Court of the United States




Title VII prohibits an employer from discriminating against an employee because of her race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Its core antidiscrimination provision, Section 703(a)(1), protects individuals not only from discriminatory hiring, firing, or compensation but also from discrimination with respect to their “terms, conditions, or privileges” of employment. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e2(a)(1). Petitioner Jatonya Clayborn Muldrow maintains that her employer, the City of St. Louis Police Department, discriminated against her in the terms, conditions, or privileges of her employment when, because of her sex, it transferred her out of the Department’s Intelligence Division to an entirely different job, and again when it denied her request to transfer to a different position. The Eighth Circuit rejected her suit because, it believed, she could not show that these transfer decisions imposed a “significant disadvantage” sufficient to qualify as an “adverse employment action.” Pet. App. 9a, 11a, 15a.

The Eighth Circuit’s decision is at war with Section 703(a)(1)’s text. The text does not demand that an employee show a “significant disadvantage” or meet any other heightened-harm requirement. Rather, Section 703(a)(1) requires Muldrow to show three things and three things only: that her employer (1) discriminated against her (2) in the terms, conditions, or privileges of employment (3) because of sex. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1). Put otherwise, “[o]nce it has been established that an employer has discriminated against an employee with respect to that employee’s ‘terms, conditions, or privileges of employment’ because of a protected characteristic, the analysis is complete.” Chambers v. District of Columbia, 35 F.4th 870, 874-75 (D.C. Cir. 2022) (en banc). This straightforward understanding of Title VII’s words dovetails with its purpose: to “eliminate” workplace discrimination. See, e.g., McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792, 800 (1973).

This Court should hold that Section 703(a)(1) means what it says and reverse.



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