The Supreme Court’s decision in Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway Co. v. White, 126 S. Ct. 2405 (2006), resolved a split in the Circuits when it held that a so-called ultimate employment decision is not necessary to establish a retaliation claim. Instead, the Court held that any act that might dissuade a reasonable employee from making or supporting a claim of discrimination can create employer liability for retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. After the decision, many commentators have expressed concern that the new standard will open the floodgates for a wave of new retaliation lawsuits, but what has Burlington Northern really changed, and what does the new framework mean for employers?
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