U.S. Supreme Court Holding Addresses "cat's paw" Theory of Liability

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The United States Supreme Court laid a heavy burden on employers yesterday by holding that they can be liable for adverse employment decisions even in instances where the individual making the decision did not act with a discriminatory motive, but instead merely relied in part on the input of others who did have such motives.

In Staub v. Proctor Hospital, plaintiff Vincent Staub sued the Hospital under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (“USERRA”), alleging he was fired under a “cat’s paw” theory of liability, whereby a decision-maker is influenced by a reporting supervisor’s bias when he or she makes a determination that adversely affects an employee.

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