Even a malicious referral of an employee for a criminal investigation does not amount to an “adverse employment action” — a key element of a constitutional claim against the employer — if the referral leads to no criminal charges or employment sanctions, a federal judge in White Plains ruled yesterday.

Ruling on an apparent issue of first impression, Southern District Judge Colleen McMahon dismissed a civil rights suit by Stephen Boylan, a police officer for the Town of Yorktown in northern Westchester County. Mr. Boylan claimed his superiors had retaliated against him for filing an earlier lawsuit against them by, among other things, instigating a criminal probe into trumped-up charges he had engaged in credit card fraud.

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