STAUB v. PROCTOR HOSPITAL

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
09-400
Petitioner 
Vincent E. Staub
Respondent 
Proctor Hospital
Decided By 
Advocates
(for the petitioner)
(Assistant to the Solicitor General, Department of Justice, for the United States as amicus curiae supporting the petitioner)
(for the respondent)
Term:
Facts of the Case 

As a member of the U.S. Army Reserves, Vincent Staub was required to attend occasional weekend training as well as a two-week training program during the summer. Staub was also a lab technician at Proctor Hospital in Peoria, Ill. He was fired in 2004 and later filed a lawsuit claiming that his supervisor was out to get him as a result of disapproval of his military service. He won $57,640 in damages at trial. But a more senior executive, not the supervisor, ultimately decided to fire Staub. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reversed, holding that there was no evidence that the decision-maker shared the supervisor's anti-military bias.

Question 

Can an employer be found liable for the discriminatory acts of supervisors, who do not themselves, make employment decisions but do influence the employment decision-makers?

Conclusion 
Decision: 8 votes for Staub, 0 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994

Yes. The Supreme Court reversed the lower court decision in a unanimous decision announced by Justice Antonin Scalia. "If a supervisor performs an act motivated by antimilitary animus that is intended by the supervisor to cause an adverse employment action, and if that act is a proximate cause of the ultimate employment action, then the employer is liable," wrote Scalia. Justice Samuel Alito, joined by Justice Clarence Thomas, concurred in the judgment but wrote that he would hold employers liable if the person making the firing decision "merely rubberstamps" a biased supervisor's recommendation or when the decision-maker is "put on notice that adverse information about an employee may be based on antimilitary animus but does not undertake an independent investigation of the matter."

Justice Elena Kagan took no part in consideration of the case.

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STAUB v. PROCTOR HOSPITAL. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 31 October 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/2010-2019/2010/2010_09_400>.
STAUB v. PROCTOR HOSPITAL, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/2010-2019/2010/2010_09_400 (last visited October 31, 2014).
"STAUB v. PROCTOR HOSPITAL," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed October 31, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/2010-2019/2010/2010_09_400.