Sinha v. Bradley University, No. 20-1848 (7th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
The Seventh Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to the University in an action alleging retaliation claims against the University under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). In this case, plaintiff alleged that the University unlawfully retaliated against him for declining requests to implement age-discriminatory policies against older faculty members. Plaintiff alleged that the University did so by removing him as department chair and by denying his application for promotion.
In regard to plaintiff's claim that the University violated the ADEA by removing him as department chair, the court concluded that plaintiff's cat's paw theory of liability failed where plaintiff cannot demonstrate that the supervisor proximately caused plaintiff's removal as chair because the decisionmaker drew a conclusion independent of any alleged influence by the supervisor. The court explained that, in his deposition, the decisionmaker explained that he removed plaintiff based on the faculty grievance committee report and the Title IX investigation report, both of which highlighted the toxic and dysfunctional culture within the department. In regard to plaintiff's denial-of-promotion claim, the court concluded that the district court correctly determined that this claim is time-barred.