Frank Dorsey's transfer from flight training supervisor to assistant chief pilot was the first step in a United Parcel Service (UPS) plan "to deliver the 'coup de gr ^ace' to his career in the company," a federal appeals court said. But the transfer didn't start the clock on his deadline to claim discrimination and retaliation related to his union organizing.
The transfer apparently was designed to make it easier for UPS to fire him for union organizing. But Dorsey's pay wasn't cut when he was transferred, and his fate with the company was unclear. He was asked for only a minimal amount of work and it appeared at that point he would be allowed to continue with his union activities. The statute of limitations didn't start running until he got the boot. (Dorsey v. United Parcel Service, No. 98-6464, 6th Cir., 1999)
Advice: As Yogi Berra said, "it ain't over 'til it's over." Still, you may need to scrutinize a transfer as you would a firing. The employee might later argue that the transfer set him up for dismissal, so document your reasons for the transfer.