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Muldrow v. City of St. Louis, Missouri: What Employers Need to Know 

The recent Supreme Court decision in Muldrow v. City of St. Louis, Missouri has important implications for employers regarding job transfers and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Here’s a breakdown of the key points: 

  • Standard for discriminatory transfers lowered: Previously, some courts required employees to show a “significant” disadvantage from a transfer to win a Title VII lawsuit. Muldrow eliminates this requirement. Now, employees only need to show some harm to a term or condition of employment, such as a change in duties, prestige, or schedule. 
  • Focus on “terms and conditions” of employment: The Court emphasized that Title VII protects against discrimination in job transfers that affect terms of employment, such as a transfer that reduces opportunities for advancement, pay, or autonomy. 
  • Potential impact on lateral transfers: The case involved a lateral transfer, suggesting the ruling applies even if there’s no inherent difference in pay or title. Employers should be mindful of the reasons behind transfers, especially when involving protected characteristics like gender. 

As a reminder, Title VII applies to private and public sector employers with 15 or more employees. 

Next Steps 

Employers should ensure that their internal transfer decisions are based on objective criteria such as performance or qualifications, not on protected characteristics, and document the objective, business-related reasons for all transfers. Employers should also train managers and supervisors on Title VII and how to avoid potential discriminatory practices. 

HR Works, headquartered in Upstate New York, is a human resource management outsourcing and consulting firm serving clients throughout the United States for over thirty years. HR Works provides scalable strategic human resource management and consulting services, including: affirmative action programs; benefits administration outsourcing; HRIS self-service technology; full-time, part-time and interim on-site HR managers; HR audits; legally reviewed employee handbooks and supervisor manuals; talent management and recruiting services; and training of managers and HR professionals.