The “cat’s paw” theory of liability refers to a biased supervisor who discriminates against an employee based on a protected characteristic (such as age) and influences an unbiased decision-maker to terminate the employee under legitimate pretenses.
The recent 7th Circuit decision in Lindsey v. Walgreen Co. (No. 10-1036, 7th Cir., 2010) addresses the cat’s paw theory of liability in the context of an age discrimination claim. The court held that a supervisor who decided to fire an employee was not the “cat’s paw” because she did not rely solely on the employee’s allegedly biased supervisor.
Katie Lindsey worked as a pharmacist at a Walgreens store and was promoted to pharmacy manager by Connie Jenkins, the district pharmacy supervisor.
However, Walgreens received complaints that Lindsey violated company policies when she filled expired prescriptions and offered unauthorized discounts. Jenkins demoted Li...(register to read more)
- How to Fire an Employee the Legal Way: 6 Termination Guidelines
- 10 Secrets to an Effective Performance Review
- Phrase job offers carefully to avoid confusion, lawsuits
- Employee/contractor question hinges on employer control
- Use performance logs to simplify employee reviews
- Team up for termination meetings; going solo could trigger lawsuit