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Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Co. v. White

United States Supreme Court
548 U.S. 53 (2006)


Sheila White (plaintiff) worked as a forklift operator for Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Co. (Burlington) (defendant). White was the only woman in her department. After White complained of harassment by her supervisor, she was reassigned from forklift operator to track laborer, a more arduous and less desirable position. White's pay and benefits remained the same. After filing a formal discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), White was suspended without pay for 37 days. According to Burlington, White was suspended for insubordination. An EEOC officer found that White had not been insubordinate and ordered her reinstated with back pay. White filed a lawsuit against Burlington, alleging the reassignment of job duties and suspension amounted to unlawful retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. A jury found in White’s favor, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed. Burlington petitioned for review by the United States Supreme Court, arguing that Title VII’s anti-retaliation provision required White to show that the challenged conduct affected the terms or conditions of her employment.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Breyer, J.)

Concurrence (Alito, J.)

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