Following Up...Individual Liability

January 1, 1995 Advisory

In the last issue of the Employment Advisory, we reported the case of Schaffer v. Ames Department Stores, (see "Connecticut Federal District Court Holds Supervisors Are Not Liable Under Title VII" ) the first case in Connecticut to hold that supervisors could not be held individually liable for violations of Title VII. Subsequently, the individual liability question under Title VII was reviewed by the Second Circuit in Tomka v. Seiler Corp., in which the appeals court agreed that there is no individual liability under Title VII for much the same reasons expressed in the Schaffer decision.

It must be noted that these decisions deal with individual liability under Title VII only, and neither the Second Circuit nor any federal district court in Connecticut has yet ruled on whether the same result will apply to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act or other federal laws (see the margin). However, because the Title VII and ADEA definitions of a covered "employer" are so similar, employers and management attorneys are hopeful that reviewing courts will use similar reasoning and hold that individuals are immune from personal liability under the ADEA, as well.