In Rochelle Waste Disposal, LLC v. NLRB, the court upheld an NLRB decision that an employee with the job title of "landfill supervisor" was not a "supervisor" within the meaning of Section 2(11) of the Act and was, therefore, unlawfully fired in retaliation for engaging in union organizing activities. At issue before the court was whether the so-called "landfill supervisor's" job included any one of the 12 supervisory criteria required by Section 2(11). Although the employer could not show that the job of "landfill supervisor" contained any of the other 11 criteria, it claimed that the employee, Jarvis, had the authority "responsibly to direct others." The employer argued that a statement by Jarvis to an equipment operator that the operator was allowing his machine to "idle" too long, was evidence of Jarvis' responsibility to direct the equipment operator. However, the employer did not show that the equipment stopped idling because Jarvis placed a burden or requirement on the operator, nor did it show that the operator should have stopped the idling because of such a burden or requirement. According to the court, the Board correctly found that Jarvis' statement did not demonstrate responsibly directing the work of others.
The court emphasized that, in order to establish that an employee has the authority to responsibly direct another coworker, it had previously required that the employee be accountable for the coworker's performance. According to the court, "the proper inquiry is whether the purported supervisor is at risk of suffering adverse consequences for the actual performance of others, not his own performance in overseeing others." Although the employer showed that on two occasions Jarvis was told that the equipment operators were performing inadequately, it failed to show that Jarvis actually suffered an "adverse consequence" as a result of such conversations.