(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this workplace/sex discrimination case and its proceedings.)
It should also be pointed out that to the extent that the Retirement Board found Mr. Carter unfit and suitable for retirement in January of 2005, that mental disability could have been caused by the City’s earlier retaliation and discrimination. This much is suggested by Dr. X.’s testimony.
Finally, the Retirement Board made a decision on plaintiff’s retirement. The issues before this court, including whether Mr. Carter was discriminated against or retaliated against were never before the Retirement Board. Similarly, the Retirement Board’s never confronted the issue over whether the process and the information that it was asked to rely on was tainted by retaliatory or discriminatory motives, which was necessarily the case given the jury’s verdict. It issued no binding decision on that question, nor could it have.
It is well-known that in the area of employment law the chain of causation is not broken by the intervention of an innocent actor that was relying on information that was tainted by a retaliatory or discriminatory animus. To establish an entitlement to judgment as a matter of law, it is not enough to show that one actor acted for lawful reasons when that actor may be found to have operated as a mere instrumentality or conduit for others who acted out of discriminatory or retaliatory animus. Reeves v. Safeway (2004) 121 Cal.App.4th 95, 113. If a supervisor makes another a tool for carrying out a discriminatory action, the original actor’s purpose will be imputed to the tool, or through the tool to the common employer. Id. To put it simply, an employer does not negate the element of causation by showing that some responsible actors, but not all, were ignorant of the occasion for retaliation or discrimination. Id, at 108.
This was a difficult, hard-fought case. It would be terrible injustice, given the state of the evidence, for the jury’s reasonable verdict to be overturned.
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.