USERRA Ruling Validates Cat's Paw Theory of Discrimination


This article discusses the case, Staub v. Proctor Hospital, in which a unanimous U.S.  Supreme Court held that an employer can be liable for employment discrimination under USERRA based on the discriminatory animus of a supervisor who expressed anti-military sentiments and then influenced a higher level decision maker to fire a member of the U.S. Army Reserve. According to Littler shareholder George Wood, who is quoted in the article, “Ultimately, this is a case where the Supreme Court has not provided the clearest guidance on what is proper to rely on [in making an employment decision] and what is not. It will come down to the lower courts and the courts of appeal to flesh out. That takes time. I think we will see this [cat's paw] theory popping up more often as this process works its way through."

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