[Excerpt] “Susan, an African-American nurse, has worked for a large group of physicians for nearly twenty years and is nearing the end of her career. Susan’s boss has recently retired and has been replaced by a man with an animus toward African-Americans. This has put Susan in a precarious situation.
Instead of overtly discriminating against her, Susan’s supervisor complains to the large medical practice’s personnel committee that Susan’s work is substandard and she no longer is a productive worker. The committee, based on the supervisor’s report, fires Susan.
When Susan goes to court to assert her right not to be discriminated against, she may face a very daunting challenge: proving that she was fired because of her race and not because of the errant personnel committee’s decision. This article is about the different answers courts give to Susan’s problem: whether she may vindicate her rights under Title VII when the personnel committee itself harbored no discriminatory bias.”
Tim Davis, Beyond the Cat’s Paw: An Argument for Adopting a “Substantially Influences” Standard for Title VII and ADEA Liability, 6 Pierce L. Rev. 247 (2007), available at http://scholars.unh.edu/unh_lr/vol6/iss2/5