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Burlington v.

White Discussion
Analyze the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Co. v.
White case and discuss whether you agree or disagree with the
Courts ruling, and why?
In the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Co. v. White case
Sheila White was the only woman working in the Maintenance of
Way Department of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad's
Tennessee Yard. She complained about being harassed by her
supervisor that was then punished. Sheila was demotivated from her
job role from a forklift operator to track laborer, though her job
classification remained the same. She was also suspended for 37
days without pay, but was eventually reinstated and given full back
After exhausting administrative remedies. The jury was in favor of
Sheila with the claims she made above. They awarded her $43,500
in compensatory damages, including $3,250 in medical expenses.
The District Court denied Burlington's post-trial motion for judgment
as a matter of law. The jury's conclusion that the 37-day suspension
without pay was materially adverse was a reasonable one, which I
highly agree on, as this made Sheila unstable emotionally and
I agree with the supreme courts decisions as Sheila was
discriminated. Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Co have
violated the rules under the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
and should be held liable. For those who are unaware the Title VII is
principally designed to protect victims of discrimination based on
race, color, sex, national origin, or religion. Sheila suffered under the
retaliatory discrimination when she was reallocated job positions to
less desirable duties and was also suspended without pay as seen in
the case. Event though the duties were within the same
classification and the pay was eventually reinstated; the action was
nevertheless sufficiently harsh to represent retaliatory
Under the employee rights in the US there are many laws that
employees are legally entitled to in the workplace. I was quite
curious in knowing what they consisted of here in the USA. As in the
UK Im sure they are the same but they may differ according to the
countries regulations. Here is a link to one of the laws that protects
employees in the US. I believe we should know our rights as more or
less of us are in the working environment.

Hey Valerie
I agree that any reasonable person would have some sort
of discomfort if they were to rely on there monthly
paycheck to paycheck. Sheila may have received a back
pay. However living on no income for more than a month
and not knowing if she was able to go back to work made
her emotionally and economically unstable. She describes
to the jury ("That was the worst Christmas I had out of my
life. No income, no money, and that made all of us feel
bad. . . . I got very depressed"). She did obtain medical
treatment for her emotional distress in the end. But no one
should go through this.

retaliation on both counts.

White initially complained to Burlington
officials about discriminatory remarks
made by her immediate supervisor due
to the fact that she was female. Under
Title VII, employers are forbidden from
discriminating against employees on the
basis of gender and also prohibits sexual
harassment. When White's supervisor
was suspended for these remarks, White
was subsequently removed from her

fork-lift operator position and reassigned

to alternate job duties. In this instance,
White felt that she was a victim of
retaliation and filed a complaint with the
EEOC under Title VII which prohibits
employers from retaliating against
employees who complain about Title VII
I believe that Sheila White had a
legitimate claim of disparate-treatment
discrimination upon being transferred to
another job position. She had met all
qualifications of a prima facie case of
discrimination: she is a member of a
protected class; she was qualified for the
job in question; she was later rejected by
the employer for this position; and
Burlington filled the position with a
person who was not a member of a
protected class (in this case, a male).
Burlington could not meet their burden
of proof to the contrary, and so did not
question the jury's verdict regarding
these facts nor that her later suspension
without pay was also a retaliatory action
by her employer. Burlington's issue with
the court's decision, however, was the
degree of harm caused by the employer
in White's reassignment and suspension

and how materially adverse both actions

The jury had considerable evidence that
the alternate position to which White
was assigned was more arduous and less
prestigious than the job for which she
was initially hired. Second, the fact that
White had to live on no income for 37
days would be a hardship for any
reasonable person. I believe that both of
these facts support White's claims of
discrimination and retaliation under Title
VII, and so I agree with the court's
decision on both counts.