The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday was in the middle of two employment law related topics. Nothing was settled but employers should keep an ear out for the resolution of two cases.

  • First up, oral argument in City of Ontario v. Quon was held yesterday.  The case will likely resolve the issue of the privacy levels that public employees have on their text messages.  Its possible that we’ll get some greater pronouncement from the Court about the privacy rights of private employees, but don’t bet on it. Instead, the case is likely to be decided on Sixth Amendment "search and seizure" grounds that will probably only apply to public employees.

For various recaps, see the WSJ Law Blog, and the SCOTUSblog.  You can download the briefs in the case at the LawMemo blog.  

  • Of more interest to private employers, however, was the announcement by the Court that it will review the so-called "cat’s paw" theory of proving discrimination. The court accepted certiorari in Staub v. Proctor Hospital and will answer the following question: In what circumstances may an employer be held liable based on the unlawful intent of officials who caused or influenced but did not make the ultimate employment decision?

For various recaps, see the DC Employment Law Update and the SCOTUSblog.  I’ve previously discussed the cat’s paw theory in Connecticut in an earlier post here