December 27, 2015

Retaliation Case Decided by Fifth Circuit

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently considered a retaliation case.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently considered a retaliation case. Brandon v. Sage Corp., No. 14-51320 (Dec. 10, 2015), available at The plaintiff served as the director of a truck driving school’s campus. She hired a female instructor whose gender expression was traditionally masculine. The regional director visited the campus and expressed her disappointment with the hiring decision. She reduced the instructor’s hours, excluded the instructor from a key project, and informed the plaintiff that the plaintiff’s pay would be reduced by fifty percent. The plaintiff sent her immediate supervisor a resignation email, alleging that she felt threatened by the pay cut statement. The plaintiff’s supervisor apologized and communicated that the regional director had no authority to cut the plaintiff’s pay or the instructor’s work hours. The plaintiff filed suit and the district court granted summary judgment on all claims.

The plaintiff appealed the ruling on her retaliation claim. The court upheld the ruling because a reasonable supervisory employee would have waited to receive confirmation on whether the pay cut threat was real or would have followed the company’s grievance process. Because no reasonable employee in a supervisory position would have been dissuaded from making a complaint of discrimination because of the regional director’s statements, no adverse employment action occurred.

To speak to an employment law attorney about retaliation claims, send an email to or call (214) 239-2705. This article is presented by the Dallas employment law lawyers at Clouse Dunn LLP.



Release ID: 9237