Texas employers may want to be careful about how much influence they allow supervisors to exert over their decisions. Even if a supervisor does not have any power over employment decisions, the supervisor could convince the employer to fire workers that they do not like. If a supervisor exerts influence with discriminatory animus, the employer could be sued for employment discrimination.
Employment discrimination and retaliation claims can be filed against employers that did not intentionally discriminate against workers. As long as the employment decision that an employer made was strongly influenced by a supervisor who had discriminatory animus, the employer may be found responsible for the supervisor's bad intent.
In a majority of workplace discrimination cases, employers are only responsible for the bad intent of managers that can make employment decisions or supervisors that can strongly influence employment decisions. However, a case that was decided by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit found that an employer was liable for the discriminatory animus of a lower-level employee. The case involved an EMT who had been fired after complaining about sexual harassment. Instead of conducting a thorough investigation into the EMT's complaints, the employer fired the EMT after obtaining information from forged documents that had been made by a lower-level employee.
An attorney may be able to help an employer to dispute the allegations in an employment discrimination claim by arguing that all decisions that it made were based on legitimate issues. If an employer is worried that going through litigation will draw negative attention to its company, an attorney may be able to help negotiate a settlement outside of court.