Prepare to justify answers with solid business reasons

While many employees view a transfer to a different location as a positive career move, others don’t see it that way. Some employees may assume discrimination in what your organization thinks of as normal career development.

Because transfers can, in some cases, be deemed "adverse employment actions" that serve as the basis for discrimination lawsuits, you should be prepared to prove that your organization’s transfer program serves a good business reason.

Recent case: Peggy Love worked for United Parcel Service in the Pittsburgh area while earning her HR degree. She held a series of clerical positions until being promoted to sales rep for the downtown Pittsburgh area.

She struggled to meet sales goals and was eventually transferred to a suburban territory. Love worked in the new territory for a year before accepting another transfer into the HR department.

She soon sued, alleging that her year in the "burbs" was sex discrimination because a male sales rep took her downtown territory.

The court dismissed her case after UPS showed that Love received a base salary increase in the suburbs and earned the same bonuses as she had before. That’s hardly an adverse employment action. The court also said UPS’ policy of transferring employees to help them improve performance was a common and reasonable business practice. (Love v. United Parcel Service, No. 2:04-CV-964, WD PA, 2006)