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Court: Who counts as a supervisor?

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By The Associated Press
Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

When does your coworker also count as your supervisor? The Supreme Court may soon draw a legal line separating colleagues from managers, at least when it comes to harassment claims.

At issue Monday was a federal court split on whether to be considered a supervisor, a person must be able to hire and fire people.

That's what the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals said while hearing a complaint from a Ball State University caterer, who says she was racially harassed. Maetta Vance says her tormentor was a supervisor, making the university liable. But the lower courts said that since the woman could not fire Vance, she was only a co-worker, and threw out the case.

Justices will announce their decision sometime next year.

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