By Bill Wright
A retaliation claim under Title VII requires proof of a “materially adverse action.” Short of discharge, what could be more materially adverse than a suspension? The Fifth Circuit Court recently ruled that even a suspension is not always materially adverse. The plaintiff will have to show that the suspension caused “physical, emotional, and economic burdens.” Cabral v. Brennan, No. 16-50661 (5th Cir. April 10, 2017).
Don’t try this at home. An employee might well believe any suspension to be stressful, depressing, and/or a threat to paying the rent. Here the plaintiff presented no testimony or other evidence that he was unhappy to be off work for a couple of days.