U.S. Supreme Court Ruling Limits Supervisor Liability; Manesh Rath is Lead Amicus Counsel for the NFIB and RLC

Date: Jun 24, 2013

The U.S. Supreme Court today settled the circuit court split presented in Vance v. Ball State in favor of employers.  The Court held that an employer is liable for harassing conduct by a supervisor only if the supervisor had the power to create “significant change in employment status,” such as the power to hire, fire, demote, promote, or reassign a person to significantly different responsibilities. 

The Court upheld the Seventh Circuit decision significantly restricting employer liability in harassment cases.  The decision seeks to eliminate frivolous lawsuits by effectively eliminating the imputation of harassment by low-level managers to the company once the company has investigated and abated the harassment. The opinion agreed with the view argued to the Court by Keller and Heckman LLP partner Manesh Rath.

Manesh Rath is the lead amicus counsel for the NFIB Small Business Legal Center and the Retail Litigation Center (RLC).  NFIB and RLC filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of Ball State University.

“Well intentioned employers must create and enforce policies prohibiting discrimination,” said Manesh Rath, a partner with Keller and Heckman.  “The Supreme Court’s decision today in Vance recognizes that it is not reasonable to hold employers accountable for the misconduct of an employee that has not been entrusted with the employer’s authority to take tangible employment action.”

Manesh Rath, a partner with Keller and Heckman, is a trial and appellate attorney with experience in general commercial litigation, wage and hour and class action litigation, labor and employment law, and Occupational Safety and Health law.  He successfully represents employers nationwide.

Keller and Heckman’s nationally-recognized litigation attorneys represent clients’ interests before federal and state courts, at the trial and appellate level, and before regulatory and industry sanctioned bodies.  Keller and Heckman, founded in 1962, has a broad practice in regulatory law and related litigation and business transactions.  Keller and Heckman serves clients from its offices in Washington, D.C., Brussels, San Francisco, and Shanghai.

Founded in 1943, NFIB is the nation’s leading small business association.  NFIB Small Business Legal Center represents the consensus views of its members.  Directed by the chief legal officers of the country's leading retail companies, RLC is dedicated to advocating the retail industry's perspective in judicial proceedings.

For more information, please contact Kaitlyn Lowery at +1 202.434.4218.