What is “Materially Adverse” action by an Employer

Anti-retaliation laws require a plaintiff to prove the employer took a materially adverse action against the plaintiff. Courts have struggled with what is a materially adverse action.    In Halliburton v. Administrative Review Board, 771 F.3d 254 (5th Cir. 2014) the Court held that simply revealing the employee’s name was enough to show materially adverse because it subjected the employee to ridicule and shame by his fellow employees. However in Warrick v. Motiva Enterprises, L.L.C. 2014 WL 7405645 held that an employer’s requirement that an employee submit to a psychiatric evaluation was not an adverse employment action for purposes of a race or disability discrimination case. However in Webb v. Round Rock ISD 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 2391 (5th 2014) the 5th Cir (a notoriously anti-employee Court) held that a lateral transfer could be a materially adverse action if the lateral transfer caused inconvenience (and in this case danger because it was when the buses were not running and she would have to walk 16 miles to commute to work).  This was a pretty extreme case and most lateral transfers will not be materially adverse but under the right fact scenario such as this one the employee can win a lateral transfer case.  If you think you are subject to a materially adverse action by your employer in El Paso, Texas or Las Cruces New Mexico you should go see an employment lawyer as soon as possible.

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