A sharply divided Supreme Court made it more difficult for Americans to sue businesses for discrimination and retaliation. It led to one of of the Judges to call on Congress to overturn the courts action. The High Court ruled 5-4 in 2 major decisions.
The Court’s Conservatives ruled that a person must be able to hire and fire someone to be considered a supervisor in discrimination lawsuits. This makes it harder to blame a business for a coworkers’ sexism or racism. The Court then decided to limit how juries can decide retaliation lawsuits. It says victims must prove employers wouldn’t havectaken action against them but for the intention to retaliate.
In the first case, Maetta Vance, who was a catering specialist at Ball State University, accused a co-worker, Shaundra Davis, of racial harrassment and retaliation in 2005. Vance sued the school under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Vance said the University was liable since Davis was her supervisor. But a Federal Judge threw out her lawsuit, saying that since Davis couldn’t fire Vance, she was only a co-worker and since the University had taken corrective action, it was not liable fir Davis’ actions. The 7th Circuit upheld that decision and Vance appealed to the Supreme Court.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote both dissents for the Court’s Liberal wing. She said aloud in Court, “Both decisions dilute the strength of of Title VII in ways Congress could not have intended.” She also said the Supreme Court had corralled Title VII, a law designed to stop discrimination in work places.
But Justice Samuel Alito, who wrote the majority opinion, said Davis must have the authority to hire, fire, demote, promote, transfer or discipline Vance, in order for the University to be liable. He also said “We hold that an employee is a supervisor for purposed vicarious liability under Title VII if he or she were empowered by the employer to take tangible employment actions against the victim. Becausr there is no evidence BSU empowered Davis to take tangible employment actions against Vance, the judgement of the Seventh Circuit is affirmed.”
The Conservative portion of the Supreme Court usually rules in favor of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a Republican lobbying group. These are obviously decisions that benefit big bussiness. Of course it is at the expense of the worker. Gutting Title VII removes most, if not all responsibility to protect their employees. Obviously it is up to Democrats to fix this, because Republicans and their corporate sponsors got a win. The people lost again.