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Supreme Court backs employee following ‘cat’s paw’ boss bias

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Employment Law,Firing,HR Management,Records Retention

by Mcihael W. Fox, Matthew Johnson & Chuck Baldwin, Esqs., Ogletree Deakins

The U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that an employer may be held liable for employment discrimination under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), based on the discriminatory animus of an employee who influenced, but did not make, an ultimate employment decision.

In interpreting the so-called “cat’s paw” theory of liability, the High Court rejected the employer’s suggestion to adopt the “hard-and-fast rule” that a decision-maker’s independent investigation and rejection of an employee’s allegations of bias should cancel out any prior discrimination.

Instead, the court held that “if a supervisor performs an act motivated by anti-military animus that is intended by the supervisor to cause an adverse employment action, and if that act is a proximate cause of the ultimate employment action, then the employer is l...(register to read more)

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