Proctor appealed the decision. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reversed the decision, ruling that Buck based her decision on Staub’s employment file as well as recommendations from Mulally and Korenchuk. In the written opinion of the decision, the appeals court noted that “it is enough that the decisionmaker is not wholly dependent on a single source of information and conducts her own investigation in the facts relevant to the decision.”
The U.S. Supreme Court overturned the decision ruling that the intent of Mulally and Korenchuck cannot be separated from Buck’s decision. The Court noted that supporting Proctor would mean that reviewing an employee file means that “the employer will be effectively shielded from discriminatory acts and recommendations of supervisors that were designed and intended to produce the adverse action.”
The Court also ruled that an independent investigation does not necessarily protect a company. “The employer is at fault because of one its agents committed an action based on discriminatory animus that was intended to cause, and did in fact cause, an adverse employment decision,” noted the Court.
However, the original jury verdict was not reinstated. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that an appellate court must look at the facts of the case again to determine whether a new jury trial is warranted.
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