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Court makes it harder to sue businesses

(Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday made it harder for workers to sue their employers over alleged harassment in the workplace, ruling against a catering assistant at an Indiana university who claimed she was discriminated against on the basis of race.

In a 5-4 vote divided along familiar ideological lines, the court said Maetta Vance, who is black, could not sue Ball State University over the alleged taunts and threats made by a white colleague who Vance considered to be her supervisor.

The court had in 1998 said Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 let harassment victims hold their employers responsible for improper conduct by a supervisor, but never defined exactly what a supervisor was.