In a ruling issued yesterday, Vance v. Ball State University, a divided Supreme Court held that a harasser does not qualify as a supervisor unless he or she has the power to “take tangible employment actions against the victim”—colloquially, the power to hire and fire. This matters because the employer’s liability under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for workplace harassment committed by supervisors is much stronger than it is for harassment inflicted by co-workers.
Joanna L. Grossman,
The Power to Harass: The Supreme Court Adopts A Definition of “Supervisor” that Reduces Employer Liability for Harassment Verdict
Available at: https://scholarlycommons.law.hofstra.edu/faculty_scholarship/975