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Supreme Court Clears Ball State In Discrimination Lawsuit

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Ball State is not liable because the person accused of creating a racially hostile work environment was not a supervisor.

Ball State library

Photo: Daniel Hartwig (flickr)

The library at Ball State University.

Ball State University has been cleared on a charge of creating a racially-hostile work environment in a case that reached the U.S. Supreme Court.

Ball State University Dining Services employee Maetta Vance claimed that fellow employee Saundra Davis created a racially hostile work environment in violation of the Title VII federal law.

The court ruled 5-4 in Ball State’s favor, saying Ball State is not vicariously liable because Davis was not Vance’s supervisor. The court describes a supervisor as someone able to hire and fire employees and have control of promotions and reassignments.

Ball State spokesman Tony Proudfoot said in an email statement that the university was pleased with the outcome of the case, noting that Ball State remains committed to diversity and a welcoming community for everyone.

The four dissenting Supreme Court justices say the ruling will make it hard to fight workplace discrimination and asks Congress to adopt a more broad definition of a supervisor.

For more on this case, listen to NPR’s story by Carrie Johnson.

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