Calif. Ruling Requires Harassment Suits To Name Supervisor

In a ruling that might prompt California legislators to consider changes in state laws governing harassment, the California Supreme Court ruled Dec. 9 that unless the harasser is an individual's direct supervisor, he or she can't be the subject of a sexual harassment workplace lawsuit under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. The victim must sue his or her employer if the harasser is not a direct supervisor. The harasser could still be sued for assault or intentional infliction of emotional stress. But the ruling serves to weaken the deterrent aspect of state laws prohibiting sexual harassment. The court said victims of harassment by a non-supervisor must sue their employer for failure to take prompt action to correct or prevent the harassment, according to the state law.

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