Under Title VII, an employer’s liability for [racial] harassment [at work] may depend on the status of the harasser. If the harassing employee is the victim’s co-worker, the employer is liable only if it was negligent in controlling working conditions. In cases in which the harasser is a "supervisor," however, different rules apply. If the supervisor’s harassment culminates in a tangible employment action, the employer is strictly liable. But if no tangible employment action is taken, the employer may escape liability by establishing, as an affirmative defense, that (1) the employer exercised reasonable care to prevent and correct any harassing behavior and (2) that the plaintiff unreasonably failed to take advantage of the preventive or corrective opportunities that the employer provided. . . . Under this framework, therefore, it matters whether a harasser is a "supervisor"or simply a co-worker.
We hold that an employee is a "supervisor" for purposes of vicarious liability under Title VII if he or she is empowered by the employer to take tangible employment actions against the victim, and we therefore affirm the judgment of the Seventh Circuit.
Vance v. Ball State Univ., No. 121-556 (U.S. June 24, 2013) (affirming dismissal of Title VII claim on ground harasser did not supervise plaintiff despite her control over plaintiff's schedule and assignments).