Elliott-Larson retaliation claim against Wayne Circuit Court is dismissed
Sylvestine McQueen sued the Third Judicial Circuit Court after she was first demoted twice and then her position was eliminated in a "restructuring." She argued that her dismissal was manipulated and that it was retaliation for filing an EEOC claim over her initial demotion. She offered third-party deposition testimony confirming that one of her supervisors wanted to dismiss her for filing the claim. The Court argued that her work in the last clerical position was sub-standard and constituted the sole basis for disciplining her. It also argued that the Chief Judge, who ultimately made the decision to demote her, made an independent decision uninfluenced by the desires of the intermediate supervisor.
Even though Ms. McQueen documented that the intermediate supervisor participated in the meeting where Judge Kelly decided to demote her, the Court ruled that the Judge's decision was not influenced by the supervisor's presence or arguments. It also considered the Federal "cat's paw" or "rubber stamp" policy pursuant to which a demonstrated bias is imputed to the decision maker and held that this policy would not be applicable to McQueen.