A Person Who Directs Your Daily Work Activities DOES Qualify as a Supervisor!
Such an individual's ability to commit harassment is enhanced by his or her authority to increase the employee's workload or assign undesirable tasks, and hence it is appropriate to consider such a person a "supervisor" when determining whether the employer is vicariously liable.
In Faragher, one of the harassers was authorized to hire, supervise, counsel, and discipline lifeguards, while the other harasser was responsible for making the lifeguards' daily work assignments and supervising their work and fitness training. There was no question that the Court viewed them both as "supervisors," even though one of them apparently lacked authority regarding tangible job decisions.
An individual who is temporarily authorized to direct another employee's daily work activities qualifies as his or her "supervisor" during that time period. Accordingly, the employer would be subject to vicarious liability if that individual commits unlawful harassment of a subordinate while serving as his or her supervisor.
On the other hand, someone who merely relays other officials' instructions regarding work assignments and reports back to those officials does not have true supervisory authority. Furthermore, someone who directs only a limited number of tasks or assignments would not qualify as a "supervisor." For example, an individual whose delegated authority is confined to coordinating a work project of limited scope is not a "supervisor."