A 5-4 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold a summary judgment ruling made by the Seventh Circuit Court narrows the definition of what kinds of employees can be considered supervisors. The ruling in Vance v. Ball State made it clear that for an employee to be a supervisor, he or she must have more power than delegating day-to-day activities of other employees, including the power to hire and fire workers.

Ballard Spahr partner Steven W. Suflas said the ruling should help clarify who can be considered a supervisor in harassment cases. “It will bring greater clarity to these cases as they get teed up for trial and bring greater clarity in the pretrial proceedings, so the plaintiff will know whether there will be an easier path to success or a tougher one, and that will fold itself into settlement discussions," Mr. Suflas said.

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