Thanks to the Supreme Court: Narrower Definition of "Supervisor" Provides Opportunities for Employers
by Terri Eyden on
The New Definition of Supervisor
Fortunately, the recent Supreme Court decision significantly erased a good amount of this confusion by adopting a more straightforward and narrower definition of supervisor than that advanced by the EEOC. The Supreme Court held that a supervisor is one who has the power to take "tangible employment actions" against the victim. Tangible employment actions include:
- The power to hire.
- The power to fire.
- The power to promote or not promote.
- The power to reassign with significantly different responsibilities.
- The power to significantly change an employee's benefits.
In a nutshell, only if the person in question has the power to take tangible employment actions against the victim will that person be considered a supervisor for Title VII purposes.
Benefits of the New Definition
This new definition promises to provide far greater clarity in harassment cases. Employers should now be able to point to whether the alleged harasser could (or could not) hire, fire, promote, etc., and determine early in the case whether the negligence standard under coworker harassment applies or whether the more stringent and difficult-to-defend standard of supervisor harassment is applicable.
This should provide for a more streamlined process and may help employers limit broad discovery requests and other costly tactics of plaintiffs' attorneys. While the decision by no means represents a perfect defense, there are, however, certain opportunities that employers should capitalize on now in order to take advantage of the ruling.
You may like these other stories...
Recently, we posted an article about being "Tax Smart Year-Round." To help accountants help their clients, we're posting occasional investing pieces to show that tax time is not the only time to think about...
Ex-Grant Thornton partner gets 4-1/2 years for $4 million theftCraig Haber, a partner at Grant Thornton from 1993 to 2012, was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison on Wednesday for stealing nearly $4 million from the...
Read more by Kristen Rampe here.One of my client service webinar participants asked in the Q&A, "Do you suggest the use of client satisfaction surveys?" This one hit a hot button with me, as evidenced by my...
Upcoming CPE Webinars
BAR is an acronym for: Boundaries, Authority and Role. This simple tool will provide participants with a solid understanding of leadership essentials to improve their performance.
This material is designed to provide a start-to-finish overview of how to plan and complete high-quality small audits efficiently.
In this session Excel expert David H. Ringstrom, CPA shares numerous techniques that you can use to work with charts more efficiently.
Key Accounting and Reporting Issues for Nonprofits No. 1: Overview and Statement of Financial Position
This material focuses on non-profit organizations organization, accounting and reporting.