Bruce’s Summary: I talked about the “cat’s paw” legal theory in September of 2016 (definition defined in article) and although this particular case occurred in another district as well, it’s just another reminder of how emotionally charged internal work issues can cloud even the best intentions. Was the decision maker not biased but influenced by someone who was and took action based upon discriminatory intent?
A neutral investigator has no ax to grind, no personal connection, not connected to a group, team, department or division. A neutral investigator is just that, neutral and follows where the facts lead and is the one responsible for ensuring a thorough and neutral investigation occurs. As the author suggests, whether an internal or external party is used, this can allow a break in the causal connection between protected activity and the adverse employment action that allows the “cat’s paw theory” to be applied. Remember opinions are not policy and if something feels funny, follow it, it probably is. “None of the information contained herein should be construed as legal advice, nor are Calvin Associates consultants engaged to offer legal advice. If there is a need for legal advice, please contact and seek the advice of independent legal counsel.” www.calvin-associates.com