Primary File

The Cat's Paw or Age Discrimination

Edwin C. Leonard, Ph.D., IPFW, Kay A. Hodge, Ph.D., University of Nebraska at Kearney
March 10, 2012
North America
Human Resources & Organizational Behavior, Strategy & General Management
8 pages
Cat’s Paw Theory, age discrimination, protected classes of employees, human resources management, due process
Student Price: 
$4.00 (€3.7)
Average rating: 

Jane White, Vice President for Human Resources for Anderson Memorial Regional Hospital, must contend with an issue involving a staff pharmacist who had again violated hospital policy by overriding the computer database’s drug interaction warning and filled a patient’s script. The drug that was filled had the potential to cause serious problems when taken with other drugs the patient was currently taking. Now White, Terry Squires, the pharmacy manager and John Hart, the HR director for the hospital, had to make a decision. The fact that the staff pharmacist was a member of a protected class complicated the decision. Still another complication was the fact that another, much younger, pharmacist found and reported the violation to management. Additionally, a recent Supreme Court decision involving the “Cat’s Paw” Theory had just been decided. White wondered what the next step that HR took should be.

Learning Outcomes: 
  1. Explain the complicated nature of the “cat’s paw” theory in relationship to issues in the case.
  2. Analyze the pros and cons of terminating the 56-year old pharmacist, Jack Creager.
  3. Identify and justify a course of action for management.

This case is intended for use in graduate and undergraduate human resource management and principles of management/supervision courses. It could also be used in courses emphasizing a business/government/society orientation.