According to the fable, a monkey convinces an unwitting cat to pull chestnuts from a hot fire. As the cat scoops the chestnuts from the fire one by one, burning his paw in the process, the monkey eagerly gobbles them up, leaving none for the cat.

Corporate officials, including CEOs, general counsel and human resource personnel, are often asked to determine whether to terminate the employment of an individual who is working for a company. In making that determination, the official frequently relies on information and/or recommendations provided by subordinates without conducting an independent investigation regarding the merits of the decision. A recent decision from the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals highlights the risks that may accompany such a course of conduct.

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