Labor: Supreme Court makes it harder for plaintiffs to prevail in harassment and retaliation suits

New standards clearly define “supervisor” and raise the bar for retaliation claims

On June 24, the Supreme Court issued two decisions that significantly raise the bar for plaintiffs suing their employers for alleged harassment and retaliation.

In harassment claims brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the employer can be held strictly liable if the alleged harasser is deemed to be a “supervisor.” If the alleged harasser is not a supervisor but merely a co-worker, however, the employer generally is liable only if it fails to exercise reasonable care to correct and prevent any harassing behavior. As a result, harassment claims often turn on whether the alleged harasser is a supervisor or simply a co-worker.

Contributing Author

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Gerald Golden

Gerald A. Golden has advised employers for over 35 years on compliance with federal and state employment laws such as the National Labor Relations Act,...

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Contributing Author

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Sonya Rosenberg

Sonya Rosenberg is an attorney in Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg’s Labor & Employment Practice Group. Her experience includes counseling employers through the many...

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