• How to Avoid "Cat's Paw" Discrimination Claims - How Subordinate Bias Can Taint an Otherwise Non-Discriminatory Employment Decision
  • March 28, 2011 | Author: Anne E. Kane
  • Law Firm: Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP - Philadelphia Office
  • On March 1, 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a pivotal decision analyzing the so-called “cat’s paw” theory of discrimination, under which employers may be liable for the discriminatory acts of a biased manager who influences, but does not make, an adverse employment decision. The term “cat’s paw” derives from a fable in which a monkey induces a cat to steal chestnuts from a fire and then absconds with the stolen nuts, leaving the cat with nothing but burnt paws. In the workplace context, the biased supervisor plays the monkey and the employer is the duped cat.