Supreme Court Set To Consider 4 Employment Discrimination Cases

On October 1, the Supreme Court opened its new term with four cases on the docket that may influence employment law and impact employment discrimination cases. As topGeorgia employment lawyers concerned about the employment litigation, the discrimination lawyers at Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP will be following these cases closely.

The cases to be reviewed involve disputes pursuant to Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the Civil Service Reform Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

One of cases — Vance v. Ball State Univ. – addresses who is a supervisor under Title VII, and when an employer may be liable for an employee’s actions. Specifically, must an employee have the authority to hire, fire or otherwise discipline a harassee in order to be considered a Title VII supervisor?

Currently, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, along with a handful of federal appeals courts have found that in certain cases, even if an employee doesn’t have the authority to hire or fire, he or she could still be considered a “supervisor” if he or she directs the plaintiff’s day to day activities. This determination is significant. Where an employee’s actions may be considered those of a supervisor, an employer may be held vicariously liable (responsible) for a worker’s actions and may be required to pay damages that result from employment discrimination.

The crux of the argument in this employment law case pivots on whether the court believes a supervisor is someone whose authority enables another worker to harass an employee or augments the ability of the [harasser] to create a hostile work environment for his or her subordinates.

Another case reviews the procedural steps involved to bring in a federal lawsuit based sex discrimination, age discrimination and retaliation. In Kloeckner v. Solis the Eighth Circuit ruled that a former Labor Department employee, could not pursue her age and sex bias and retaliation claims in federal district court, but rather must first appeal the dismissal of her claims on procedural grounds to the Federal Circuit.

Other cases involve the types or amount of evidence plaintiffs must present before they can achieve class certification. How the Court rules on any of these cases could have a significant impact on Georgia employment laws.

For more information or if you have any questions concerning employment laws, or if you believe you may have been discriminated against please contact the knowledgeable Atlanta employment discrimination lawyers at Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP for an immediate case evaluation.