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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. As one of the many consumers affected by this breach, I found my bank data had been lifted and used to buy over $200 of various merchandise in New York. I did a pretty good job of tracing the purchases to stores around a college campus just from the info on my bank statement. Hm. Mr. Hill, I would like my $200 back! It doesn't belong to the state, in my opinion. Give it back to the consumers affected. I had to freeze my credit and take out data protection, order a new debit card and wait until it arrived. I deserve something for my trouble!

  2. Don't we have bigger issues to concern ourselves with?

  3. Anyone who takes the time to study disciplinary and bar admission cases in Indiana ... much of which is, as a matter of course and by intent, off the record, would have a very difficult time drawing lines that did not take into account things which are not supposed to matter, such as affiliations, associations, associates and the like. Justice Hoosier style is a far departure than what issues in most other parts of North America. (More like Central America, in fact.) See, e.g., http://www.theindianalawyer.com/indiana-attorney-illegally-practicing-in-florida-suspended-for-18-months/PARAMS/article/42200 When while the Indiana court system end the cruel practice of killing prophets of due process and those advocating for blind justice?

  4. Wouldn't this call for an investigation of Government corruption? Chief Justice Loretta Rush, wrote that the case warranted the high court’s review because the method the Indiana Court of Appeals used to reach its decision was “a significant departure from the law.” Specifically, David wrote that the appellate panel ruled after reweighing of the evidence, which is NOT permissible at the appellate level. **But yet, they look the other way while an innocent child was taken by a loving mother who did nothing wrong"

  5. Different rules for different folks....

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