Supreme Court's ruling narrows the definition of "supervisor"

07/30/2013

Leslie D. Miller, deputy general counsel
The Supreme Court's 5-4 decision in Vance v. Ball State Univ. is generally a positive result for employers, as it reduces the potential number of individuals who would qualify for supervisor status in a Title VII workplace harassment case. In cases where the supervisor liability rule applies, the employer is held vicariously liable for the actions of the supervisor irrespective of whether the employer itself was negligent. The majority emphasized that the authority to take tangible employment actions is the defining characteristic of a supervisor. Policy Analysis

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