Supreme Court Ruling Affecting Employers

by | Jul 3, 2013 | General | 0 comments

Did you hear about the recent rulings of the Supreme Court?

 Those of us in HR land have been wondering how the Supreme Court would rule on the definition of a Supervisor. Why you ask? Because employers are liable for the actions of their Supervisors. The question in this case…is the employer liable if no “formal employment action,” such as firing or suspension, is allowed to be made by the Supervisor? The Supreme Court ruled that the employer is not liable if the Supervisor is not empowered to make a “formal employment action.”

What does this mean for employers? Going forward, companies need to check their job descriptions to make it clear who on the team has the authority to make formal employment actions, and to follow those job descriptions. Employers who sway from the stated responsibilities of any Supervisor, may find themselves liable for the Supervisors actions.

 The other Supreme Court ruling last week was that an employee alleging retaliation under Title VII must prove that the employer’s conduct did cause the plaintiff’s injury. It is likely fewer retaliation claims will make it to jury, as a result of this decision. Again, this is good news for employers! Two wins for employers in one week…I can hardly believe it!