A supervisor’s retaliatory harassment of an employee may give rise to employer liability under Title VII and the standard for establishing a prima facie case of retaliation is thus modified to incorporate supervisor harassment, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Jan. 20 in a case of first impression for the circuit courts (Morris v. Oldham County Fiscal Court, 6th Cir., No. 98-6117, 1/20/00).

As with a hostile environment claim involving a supervisor’s conduct, however, an employer must be allowed to establish the affirmative defense to vicarious liability outlined in Burlington Industries Inc. v. Ellerth, 524 U.S. 742 (1998), and Faragher v. City of Boca Raton, 524 U.S. 775 (1998), the court said, partially reversing the district court.

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