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The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on Nov. 26, 2012, regarding who qualifies as a “supervisor” under a federal employment discrimination law. At issue during the arguments was a decision by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which declared that only a person with the ability to fire or hire employees can be considered a supervisor, regardless of the person’s other duties. The decision by the 7th Circuit contradicts decisions by other federal appeals courts and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commissions that define a supervisor more broadly—as a person with authority to direct daily work activities and can undertake or recommend “tangible employment decision affecting employees.”

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