The U.S. Supreme Court will use a lawsuit against Ball State to clarify its rulings on workplace harassment.
The Court ruled in a pair of 1998 decisions that employers can be liable for harassment if they‘re negligent in responding to the situation. But they‘re automatically liable if the harasser is a supervisor. Since then, though, lower courts have disagreed on the definition of a supervisor.
When a Ball State catering assistant accused a fellow kitchen worker of menacing her physically and using racial slurs, a federal judge and the Chicago-based Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals rejected her claims against the university because her co-worker had no power to hire or fire anyone