In California, employers aren’t the only ones who face liability for harassment, including sexual harassment, and retaliation in the workplace. Individual supervisors are also liable for their own harassment and retaliation against employees.
The law regarding sexual harassment makes employers strictly liable for sexual harassment committed by a supervisor. Therefore, it is important for employers, supervisors, and employees to understand who is considered a supervisor under the law.
A supervisor is an employee who has the authority to make decisions on behalf of his or her employer relating to hiring, firing, promotions, rewards, and discipline. The Fair Employment and Housing Act defines “supervisor” as “any individual having the authority, in the interest of the employer, to hire, transfer, suspend, lay off, recall, promote, discharge, assign, reward, or discipline other employees, or the responsibility to direct them, or to adjust their grievances, or effectively to recommend that action, if, in connection with the foregoing, the exercise of that authority is not of a merely routine or clerical nature, but requires the use of independent judgment.”