Supreme Court Decides Who Is A Supervisor

In resolving a conflict between the federal circuits, the high court determined who constitutes a supervisor for purposes of employment discrimination cases.  Maetta Vance accused a co-worker, Davis, of racially harassing her and retaliating against her at her employment at Ball State University in 2005.  She sued the school under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, claiming that the school should be responsible since Davis was a supervisor.  A federal judge dismissed her claim, holding that Davis could not fire her since she was only a co-worker.  The Seventh Circuit Court of appeals upheld the ruling.   Vance appealed to the Supreme Court.  The Supreme Court sided with the lower courts, ruling that for the university to be liable, Davis must have had the authority to "hire, fire, demote, promote, transfer, or discipline" Vance.  While a disappointment for the employed, the decision will no doubt provide greater clarity in litigating these cases.
Categories: Employment Law