[IPAC-List] Supreme's extend Cat's Paw theory to most discriminationclaims

Bryan Baldwin Bryan.Baldwin at doj.ca.gov
Wed Apr 6 13:52:16 EDT 2011

I've been having a debate with myself (stay tuned for the winner) about how important this case will be. Even if it is extended beyond USERRA (which it sounds like plaintiffs attorneys will attempt to do), the bottom line seems to be: "make sure staffing decisions, regardless of who makes them, are not done for illegal discriminatory reasons but rather job-related ones."

This is already our goal and our practice...right?


Bryan Baldwin
Staff Services Manager II
California Department of Justice
Division of Administrative Support
Personnel Programs
(916) 322-5446

>>> Jeff Feuquay <jfeuquay at ipaconline.org> 4/6/2011 9:01 AM >>>

I think it's important for us to be aware of a recent case and I haven't
noticed anything on the list . . . sorry, if I've just been inattentive and
missed it.

On March 1, 2011 the U.S. Supreme Court decided *Vincent Staub v Proctor
Hospital*, No. 09-400. While it's a USERRA discrimination case, that law
uses the "motivating factor" language found in most federal discrimination
laws so the application is likely far broader than just to military folk.
(although, maybe not applicable to ADEA)

Cat's Paw, as we all know (sorry, don't know the emoticon for
'tongue-in-cheek'), is a reference to a 17th century French fable, "The
Monkey & the Cat," in which a monkey convinces a cat to pull chestnuts from
a fire. Cat burns his paw; monkey takes off with the nuts. The case is about
discriminatory animus of non-decision-makers who feed bad info to an
animus-free decision maker that results in adverse action being taken. The
link to a good discussion is below:


Dr. Jeffrey P Feuquay, I/O Psychologist & Attorney
Managing Consultant, Psychology-Law Center, LLC
108 W. Walnut, Nevada, Mo 64772
ofc: 417-667-5076 cell: 417-549-0997
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