Supreme Court Issues Important Decision in Discrimination Case

In Staub v. Proctor Hospital, the US Supreme Court just issued an important unanimous decision in this military-service-based discrimination case. This case concerns the so-called "cat's paw" theory of liability, under which one supervisor acts with discriminatory intent against the plaintiff, but the plaintiff is actually fired by another supervisor. The case arose under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), which protects members of the military from workplace discrimination based on their military position or service. The Court held that "if a supervisor performs an act motivated by antimilitary 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 liable under USERRA."

Because the language of USERRA is very similar to Title VII, this principal likely also applies to cases of race and sex discrimination at least. (More coverage here, here.)