Carolyn Wheeler Discusses 2nd Circ. Decision Marking Shift in Title VII Interpretation

September 19, 2023

In a recent Law360 article, 2nd Circ. Order Lends Weight to Worker-Friendly Title VII Shift, KBK partner Carolyn Wheeler discusses a significant development in the 2nd Circuit that underscores a shift towards a more worker-friendly interpretation of Title VII. This decision pertains to an employment law issue currently on track to reach the Supreme Court.

In this case, a Black GM safety worker’s lawsuit alleged racism and sexism at a New York plant. The decision from U.S. Circuit Judge Denny Chin emphasized that actions taken by an employer, even if they do not impact an employee’s salary, can still be deemed adverse under Title VII if they stem from biased motives.

The issue is one that was taken by the Supreme Court in June when it agreed to hear a case addressing the varying federal appellate standards on whether job transfers could support a Title VII discrimination lawsuit.

“The Second Circuit wrote this knowing the Supreme Court is considering this issue, so they were very thorough and meticulous in explaining what facts they think lead to this being viewed as an adverse action,” Ms. Wheeler said.

Read the full Law360 article here. Further analysis by Ms. Wheeler on the appellate issue can be found here.

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