A recent ruling by a federal appeals court in a case brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act serves as a reminder that the standard for a plaintiff to prove retaliatory harassment is lower than the burden on a plaintiff to show discriminatory harassment based on race, sex, or other protected characteristic.

The retaliatory harassment standard was articulated by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2006, and while it has not changed, the confusion that arose as this case was litigated before the federal trial court suggests that some courts are still struggling with how to apply it.

The decision by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Monaghan v. Worldpay US, Inc., No. 17-14333 (11th Cir. April 2, 2020), provides a helpful discussion of what the standard is and how retaliatory harassment is easier for a plaintiff to prove than harassment based on some other protected characteristic.

A copy of the Eleventh Circuit’s opinion is available online.

Members of the Center for Workplace Compliance (CWC) can read more here.