Employer Law Report

Tag Archives: Second Circuit

2nd Circuit “Cat’s Paw” decision highlights importance of employer investigations before termination

In 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court in Staub v. Proctor Hospital first endorsed the “Cat’s Paw” theory of liability in a USERRA case. Derived from an Aesop Fable, the Court held that an employee termination based on information from a supervisor with discriminatory or retaliatory intent can provide the basis for employer liability even if the biased supervisor did not participate in the adverse employment decision. Following up on this decision, federal courts began applying the theory to Title VII and other federal discrimination laws. Last week’s 2nd Circuit decision in Vasquez v. Empress Ambulance Service, Inc., took the …

Secretary May Pursue Sexual Harassment Suit for Hostile Work Environment Based on Boss’s Video Habit

The importance of leaving your personal life at home–particularly if it involves a penchant for pornography–is amply highlighted by the Second Circuit’s decision in Patane v. Clark, No. 06-3446 (2nd Cir. Nov. 28, 2007).  In Patane, the court upheld a female college secretary’s right to pursue a hostile work environment claim under Title VII and state discrimination laws based on her male supervisor’s pornographic video and website viewing habits.  Apparently oblivious to the development of sexual harassment law over the last 40 years or so, the supervisor–who happened to be the chair of the college’s Classics Department–allegedly viewed …