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Supreme Court Favors St. Louis Police Officer In Bias Case

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of a St. Louis police officer who sued after claiming she was transferred to an undesirable new job because of her sex, in a case testing the scope of federal workplace protections. The 9-0 ruling threw out a decision by a lower court to dismiss the lawsuit brought by officer Jatonya Muldrow, Reuters reports. At issue is whether federal law banning workplace bias requires employees to prove that discrimination caused them tangible harm such as a pay cut, demotion or loss of job.

The 1964 Civil Rights Act of 1964 bars discrimination based on sex, race, religion and other characteristics "with regard to any term, condition, or privilege of employment." Muldrow was backed by the Biden administration, which said discriminatory transfers always violate the law because they necessarily involve a change in working conditions. Lower courts were divided over whether any workplace bias violates Title VII, or if companies violate the law only when discrimination influences major employment decisions. In Muldrow's case, the St. Louis-based 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2022 decided that her transfer had not negatively affected her working conditions, agreeing with a federal judge's ruling.


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