SCOTUS to hear Ball State discrimination complaint

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A food service worker at Ball State University who claims that the college bears responsibility for racial discrimination by coworkers will have her case heard this month by the Supreme Court of the United States.

Maetta Vance claims she was the only African-American working in her department on the Muncie campus when some co-workers used racial epithets toward her and boasted of ties to the Ku Klux Klan, among other allegations. Her appeal alleges a hostile work environment and retaliation after she filed complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2006, and subsequently was issued a right-to-sue letter.

Justices in June granted certiorari in Maetta Vance v. Ball State University, 08-3568. The 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago affirmed a district court ruling in favor of Ball State. The 7th Circuit held that Vance “has not established a basis for employer liability on the hostile work environment claim or put forth sufficient facts to support her retaliation claim.”

The question before the court is whether the supervisor liability rule applies to harassment by people whom the employer authorizes to direct or oversee the victim’s daily work. Decisions from the 2nd, 4th and 9th Circuits have upheld that interpretation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

The 1st, 7th and 8th Circuits, meanwhile, have held that such claims are limited to those who have the power to “hire, fire, demote, promote, transfer or discipline” the victim.

Oral argument is set for Tuesday, Nov. 26.


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  1. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.