Seventh Circut

Essay by mm1979University, Master'sB+, October 2014

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As the Seventh Circuit noted, if a supervisor is responsible for creating an abusive workplace environment based upon harassment, then the employer is responsible for the supervisor's acts under Title VII. Title VII does not define supervisor, and there is no clear authority distinguishing between co-workers and supervisors. "Both Vance and Ball State assert that the Seventh Circuit definition of supervisor does not meet the realities of the workplace and is too restrictive; however, the parties disagree how supervisor should be defined and whether the new definition could include the facts of this case" ( Submitting a brief in favor of neither party, the Federal Government observes that the definition of supervisor should mirror the definition provided by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). "The United States notes that the EEOC definition of a supervisor focuses on the power an individual may have over another and whether or not the individual is in the supervisory chain of command" (

As a result, the United States asserts, the EEOC definition of a supervisor also includes control over daily work activities. Overall, it is very likely that this decision will expand the Seventh Circuit definition of supervisor; however, the Supreme Court will decide how broad the definition should be and whether or not there will be limiting principles that provide further guidance regarding how the definition may be limited. "The Seventh Circuit ruled that, in this context, a supervisor is restricted to employees with the power to hire, fire, promote, transfer, or discipline other employees" ( "The Seventh Circuit noted that, unlike other circuits, it did not consider the authority over an employee's daily work sufficient to make one a supervisor" ( The Seventh Circuit concluded that Vance did not demonstrate that Davis had the requisite control over Vance to qualify as...