Legal Trickery – Eric A. Parzianello

Business Law News from Michigan and Florida

  • About

    Legal Trickery is a blog devoted to business law news, cases and other developments from Michigan and Florida as well as commentary from its author, Eric Parzianello.
  • Eric Parzianello on LinkedIn

  • Follow me on Twitter

  • Disclaimer

    I'm an attorney but you're not my client unless you've retained me in writing. Please do not rely on this blog for legal advice. You can read Legal Trickery's full disclaimer here. The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide, ask me to send you written information about my qualifications and experience.
  • Enter your email address to follow my blog and receive notifications of new posts by e-mail

  • Subscribe

  • Blog Categories

Managers Beware: You Can Be Individually Liable For Discriminating Against Employees

Posted by Eric Parzianello on November 17, 2013

Until recently, federal courts have almost uniformly found that managers or supervisors cannot be individually liable under Title VII, which protects employees against discrimination based on grounds such as race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.  Under Title VII, liability is typically limited to the employer.  A November 4, 2013, case from the Sixth Circuit (which covers Michigan, Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio), however, has strayed from that general interpretation of the statute.

In Mengelkamp v. Lake Metropolitan Housing Authority, a female plaintiff who was employed at annual salary of $46,000 sued her employer and manager for sex discrimination.  She alleged and a jury found that her male manager consciously disregarded her rights and engaged in “outrageous” and “flagrant” actions.   The jury awarded the plaintiff compensatory damages of $195,000 against the employer and punitive damages of $105,000 against her manager.  The Court of Appeals upheld both awards.  As to the punitive damages, the Court found that the manager held a supervisory position, had significant control over the plaintiff’s firing, and was the person in charge of employment conditions.  The manager was therefore an “employee” under the statute and could be found individually liable.

Lesson for managers and supervisors:  don’t discriminate . . . . or find a job outside of the Sixth Circuit.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: