skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 166696 Find in a Library
Title: Individual Liability Under the Federal Employment Laws
Journal: Federal Lawyer  Volume:43  Issue:5  Dated:(June 1996)  Pages:29-34
Author(s): N J Conca
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 6
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The issue of whether individual supervisors can be held personally liable for violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and similar statutes has proven surprisingly difficult for Federal courts to resolve.
Abstract: Title VII imposes liability on employers who discriminate against employees on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, or religion. Title VII defines employer as a person engaged in an industry affecting commerce who has 15 or more employees and as any agent of such a person. Other Federal statutes, including the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and the Americans With Disabilities Act, contain similar definitions. The main difficulty in resolving the issue of individual liability concerns the meaning of agent. Most courts interpret agent as not creating individual liability but rather as a simple expression of respondeat superior. Discriminatory actions taken by an employer's agent create liability for the employer entity. A few courts, however, hold that the literal language of the statute means supervisory personnel and other agents of the employer are statutory employers who may be held individually liable for discriminatory acts. The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 raises concerns of corporate personnel dealing with leaves of absence; the return to work process; and the termination of sick, disabled, and injured workers. Even when interpreting Title VII and other statutes under similar factual settings, judges can reach diametrically opposite conclusions as to the particular statute's intended meaning. Until the U.S. Supreme Court resolves the conflict among courts, the outcome in any case largely depends on the jurisdiction in which the case is pending. 20 endnotes
Main Term(s): Courts
Index Term(s): Age discrimination; Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); Civil rights; Constitutional Rights/Civil Liberties; Criminology; Discrimination against disabled persons; Employment discrimination; Equal opportunity employment; Racial discrimination; Sex discrimination
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.