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Old 06-03-2005, 05:45   #1 (permalink)
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US:Supreme Court says Ford supervisor can be liable for sexual harassment

Supreme Court says Ford supervisor can be liable for sexual harassment

Detroit News staff, wire and Bloomberg News reports

LANSING - A Ford Motor Co. plant supervisor who is accused of sexually harassing a female worker can be sued under the state's civil rights act, the Michigan Supreme Court has ruled. The court, in a split 4-3 opinion released late Wednesday, said both employers and their employees can be held liable for sexual harassment. The decision overturns a 2002 ruling by the state appeals court that only an employer can be sued for harassment.

Chief Justice Clifford Taylor, writing for the majority, said the earlier ruling was inconsistent with the actual language of the civil rights act. The case before the high court involved Lula Elezovic, an Albanian immigrant and worker at Ford's Wixom plant who sued both the automaker and her supervisor, Daniel Bennett, in 1999.

Elezovic's suit against Ford was dismissed after a Wayne County Circuit Court ruled that she failed to tell higher managers about the harassment. A Michigan Court of Appeals panel begrudgingly threw out her case against Bennett, too, citing an earlier ruling that supervisors aren't liable for sexual harassment under the state's civil rights act. The Supreme Court ruling means Bennett can be sued. The court agreed with lower courts that Ford shouldn't be held liable.
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