Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court’s Staub v. Proctor Hospital decision slammed supervisors who lobbied to get a subordinate fired for discriminatory reasons. The court essentially said that employers are liable for the discrimination perpetuated by supervisors unless they can show that, before accepting a supervisor’s termination recommendation, they conducted an independent investigation.
The take-away for most HR professionals: As long as an employer doesn’t merely rubber-stamp a supervisor’s recommendation (that might have been based on prejudice or the desire to retaliate against the subordinate), it could fire the subordinate without liability.
But that’s just a shorthand way to describe the idea of an independent investigation. There’s more to it than that, as the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals recently demonstrated.
Employers that don’t conduct a truly independent investigation—including allowing the subordinat...(register to read more)