U.S. Second Circuit - The FindLaw 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

September 2016 Archives

A company can be held responsible for the retaliatory actions taken by one co-worker against another, even when those workers are just low-level employees, the Second Circuit ruled on Monday.

The decision makes it easier for employers to be held liable under a "cat's paw" theory of liability. "A what?" you ask. A cat's paw. That is, the sort of obscure theory of liability coined by Seventh Circuit Judge Richard Posner and relating to an ancient Aesop fable. The gist: as a cat paws one toy, causing it to hit another, so to can employers be held responsible when one employee manipulates them into taking discriminatory or retaliatory action against another.