The Supreme Court has gotten it wrong again, and it’s up to us to get Congress to fix their mistake.
In fact, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has specifically asked us to!
In a 5-4 ruling last year, the court created an artificial distinction between types of workplace “supervisors.” This decision creates an extra hurdle for workers suing their employers for workplace harassment, unequal pay, and other forms of discrimination.
Here’s the problem: The court’s ruling doesn’t mesh with the realities of the modern workplace!
Millions of workers are overseen by other employees who don’t have the authority to hire or fire them, yet still shape their day-to-day work experience through actions such as making their schedule, giving them time off, or assigning them projects and tasks. This wrong-headed decision virtually gives a green light to sexual harassment as long as it doesn’t come from “the boss.” Under the 2013 ruling, known as Vance v. Ball State University, this “overseeing” type of employee is now classified as a co-worker, meaning that any harassment from them is subject to a lesser standard – despite the obvious fact that they have power over other workers. This problematic decision is of particular concern to women – a national poll found that 25 percent of women have experienced workplace sexual harassment, as have one in 10 men.
We need the Fair Employment Protection Act, which would restore longstanding workplace protections the Vance ruling took away. We must return to a reasonable definition that reflects the modern workplace.
Think about your own experiences at work. You knew who set your schedule and gave you assignments, but did you know who could make the decision to fire you? Was it your direct boss? Was it the HR manager? Was it the company president that you met only once? Under the court’s standard, if your boss doesn’t have the power to fire you, he/she isn’t considered your “supervisor.” And that’s just silly. The Fair Employment Protection Act was just introduced today, so it’s time to make your voice heard: