Defining Supervisors for Liability Reasons

Last week I talked about the importance of job descriptions.  It’s important to make sure they’re up to date, living documents.  As employees move in and out of your company, change roles within your company, or stay in the same role but take on new responsibilities, it’s important and crucial to have job descriptions updated.  An article I came across in SHRM magazine touched on this, and I thought it was great timing based on the blog I posted last week.  The debate was actually brought up in court as to what defines a supervisor.  For your company to determine who is and is not a supervisor is important for liability reasons.  In the case of an employee being a victim of harassment, did you know that if a supervisor is committing the harassment your company might be liable?  On the other hand, if the harassment is on the shoulders of someone who is a co-worker to the victim your company is not liable.  So, it’s important to have your ducks in a row so you’re prepared in the event of a harassment claim.  Although there may be many levels of supervisors in your company, it’s important to know what the court defines as a supervisor, which could leave your company open to liability.  The law defines a supervisor as someone who the employer gives authority to direct and oversee employees’ daily work.  This is someone who has the following authority over his or her employees:

  • Hire
  • Fire
  • Demote
  • Promote
  • Transfer
  • Discipline

This is an important element to make sure you have updated in all of your job descriptions, especially for positions with authority.  Besides, you need your supervisors to know just how much or little power they have.  Be sure to connect with Serenity Staffing on Facebook and LinkedIn to continue to stay on top of important HR news and HR law nuances!