La Fontaine's Fables - Monkey and the CatThe Fable

“The Monkey and the Cat” is a fable (dating back to the 17th century or perhaps earlier) about a monkey who persuades a cat to pull chestnuts from the embers of a fire, only to take the reward for himself and leave the cat nursing a burnt paw.  The fable is the source of the English idiom “cat’s paw” – essentially, one who does another’s dirty work.  The story of the clever monkey and the unsuspecting cat has also worked its way into modern employment discrimination law.  “Cat’s paw liability” describes a scenario when an employee or supervisor, motivated by discriminatory intent, influences an otherwise unbiased decision-maker to take an adverse employment action against another employee.  In the end, the employer is still held responsible.  Employers should heed the moral of the story and take steps to avoid the fate of the duped feline. (Continue reading).