Week 8 : Final Exam – Final Exam
1. Carla Thomas, a nonsmoker, often encouraged her co-workers to quit smoking. Her new manager, Paul, a smoker, was annoyed by what he considered her constant nagging. He moved her desk from a separate room with a window to a cubicle surrounded by smokers, who smoked all day. Paul refused Carla’s request to create a no-smoking area in the office and he refused her request to be moved back to the separate room. After four weeks of breathing secondhand smoke, Carla quit. What, if any, recourse does Carla have against her former employer? Explain the possible legal theories for recovery, if any.
(Points : 40)
2. Mary Smith was an employee of Thomas Contracts, a pipeline construction company. Mary was supervised by H.D. Thomas, son of the owner of the business. She became involved in an affair with Thomas, who was married. Thomas ended the affair and subsequently fired Mary based on her performance since the affair began.
Mary filed a suit against Thomas Contracts, alleging that her discharge was due to gender discrimination, sex discrimination, and in violation of Title VII. Analyze and determine what important facts you would need to know in order to ascertain Mary’s likelihood of success here.
(Points : 50)
3. An ambulance service transports disabled individuals on a non-emergency basis. Jane was hired as a night dispatcher. She worked at home, and was required to be on duty to take calls for service from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m., Monday through Thursday, and from 9:00 p.m. Friday to 7:00 a.m. on Monday. She was paid $550 per month. She was not given any special training, she was simply instructed how to fill in record sheets, and how to call the ambulance crew to notify them of the service request. Jane was free to engage in personal business as long as it did not interfere with the calls, and was able to leave her home as long as she made sure that someone was available to answer the phone.
The ambulance company claimed that Jane was an independent contractor and was exempt from the FLSA’s overtime and wage requirements. Jane filed suit to collect overtime and minimum wage back pay under the FLSA. Determine whether she will succeed. If you determine that she will succeed, explain the remedies available. Support your position with any applicable laws.
(Points : 50)
4. A & Z, Co. had a workplace policy of prohibiting the hiring of family members of current employees. On a number of occasions, however, the male children of current male employees had been hired, but no female children had ever been hired, even though many applied. Also, no children, male or female, of any current female employee, had ever been hired, even though, again, many had applied.
The female child of a current male employee files a lawsuit. Determine the legal basis for the claim and assess the likelihood of prevailing against A & Z, Co. Also from an employer perspective, what suggestions would you make in terms of best practices to minimize future legal liability? Utilize applicable law in your response if possible.
(Points : 50)
5. After noticing some items stolen from the store, a manager asked an employee, Frank, to take a polygraph test. Frank refused, claiming that he did not steal anything and he was asserting his rights of privacy to not assert to the test. Frank also reminded Jeff that he did not have access to the area where the stolen items were kept. Jeff, while reminding Frank that employees have no right to privacy in the workplace, fired Frank because he refused to take the polygraph test. Frank intends to file suit. Assess the likelihood that Frank will prevail in the suit.
(Points : 40)
6. 39-year-old Jim, who works for a new 5 year company that employs 30 individuals, feels that he is being discriminated against at work because of his age. Besides the CEO, he is the only other employee who is over the age of 30. Despite a stellar work record, he has recently been demoted and he often hears other employees referring to anyone over 30 as over-the-hill. Jim feels very uncomfortable at work. Assess whether Jim can bring a valid claim of age discrimination in this situation. What will the employer say in its defense? Give some management tips to this company as it relates to avoiding age related claims in the future. (Points : 50)
1. (TCO A) Nix has worked for ABC, Inc. for ten years. During the entire period of Nix’s employment, his performance had never been formally evaluated or criticized; he was never denied a raise or bonus. The company was doing extremely well, constantly hiring new employees. During the busiest time of the year, Nix told his boss that he had jury duty. Nix attended jury duty. Nix was terminated for refusing to decline to appear for jury duty. Even though the term of Nix’s employment is not specified by contract, does Nix have a cause of action against his employer arising out of the termination? Identify and analyze the possible causes of action available to Nix and the likelihood of prevailing in the litigation. Utilize applicable law to support your conclusions. (Points: 30)
2. (TCO B) Denora Sarin, a Cambodian immigrant and a practicing Buddhist, was employed as a systems engineer with Raytheon Company. Shortly after Sarin was assigned to work on a particular project, Goldberg, one of the workers, approached and taunted Sarin saying, “What’s Buddhism? What kind of Buddha do you worship—the skinny Buddha or the fat one? I want to fight you. You don’t fight me back.” Sarin also claimed to be physically harassed by another employee, but after Sarin reported the conduct to his supervisor, it was not repeated.
Goldberg continued to mock Sarin’s religion on several occasions, and when Sarin later asked him to perform certain work, Goldberg shouted at him, “You’re not my boss. You have no right to tell me what to do. You don’t know me very well—I can do a lot of things that you cannot imagine.” Goldberg also told Sarin that he (Sarin) came to the U.S. to destroy and ruin the system of this country.
Sarin again reported the conduct to Goldberg’s supervisor. Sarin was extremely disturbed by the incident and took the rest of the day off. When he returned to work the next day, Goldberg had been transferred to a different work area. Goldberg was subjected to a discipline hearing because of Sarin’s complaints. Goldberg denied Sarin’s allegations, and there were no other witnesses of the incidents. No discipline was imposed on Goldberg, but he was warned he would be severely disciplined if he harassed Sarin in the future.
Sarin continued to experience anxiety attacks, and suffered chest pains; he denied the company’s offer to change shifts because the net shift would still overlap with that of Goldberg. On the recommendation of his doctor, Sarin resigned from his job. Sarin then filed a complaint with the state EEO agency and with the EEOC, and later filed suit against Raytheon under Title VII. Identify the possible claims under Title VII discrimination available to Sarin and assess the likelihood of prevailing under the claims. Determine whether Raytheon should be held in violation of Title VII.
3. (TCO C) Matt worked for CTE as a management analyst. Matt suffered a heart attack and took medical leave from his job. Prior to the heart attack, his supervisor opened his locked drawer at work and found prescription drugs that were not prescribed to Matt. The supervisor thought Matt had been acting a bit strangely but decided he would confront him about it later. The supervisor did not confront Matt before the heart attack.
After six months, Matt was able to return to work on a part-time basis. Matt worked reduced hours for the next year. CTE was forced to reduce its workforce to cut costs. CTE conducted a performance appraisal of all managerial employees and discharged those with the lowest performance ratings. Matt, because of his part-time status, had one of the lowest performance ratings. The company did not look at performance pro-rata based on hours worked. Matt sued and alleged that he was wrongfully terminated in violation of the ADA. Matt alleged that his termination was a result of his disability. Identify and analyze the potential claims and defenses. Utilize case law to support your responses and conclusions.
4. (TCO D) A wrecking and heavy moving firm was moving a barn. As the barn was being towed across a field, it came close to three 7,200 volt power lines. A ball of fire was observed where the barn’s lighting rod either came to close to or actually touched, one of the power lines. Two employees were electrocuted and three more were injured. Analyzing the fact pattern, determine whether the company violated OSHA’s general duty clause, or was this merely an unfortunate accident? Assuming that passing close to the wires was unavoidable, identify the steps that the company might have taken to avoid the tragedy. (Points: 30)
5. (TCO E) Jerry Swanson owned Swanson Custom Cabinets. He works exclusively for Custom Kitchen Designs, Inc., building all of the cabinets for their clients. Mr. Swanson was injured on the job and filed a worker’s compensation claim which listed Custom Kitchen Designs as his employer. Based upon the foregoing, will Mr. Swanson be deemed an employee or an independent contractor? Analyze the fact pattern in conjunction with the legal factors that impact the employee versus independent contractor determination. Determine and explain the implications of this determination on Mr. Swanson’s worker’s compensation claim. Incorporate applicable law as you analyze and interpret the scenario in conjunction with the legal elements of the claims.
6. (TCO F) The retirees were employed by White Farms while the company was an affiliate of the White Motor Corporation. The dispute concerned the White Motor Corporation Insurance Plan for Salaried Employees, a non-funded, noncontribu¬tory benefit plan that provided life, health, and welfare insurance, prescription drugs, hearing aid benefits, and dental care to retirees and their eligible dependents. White Motor employ¬ees periodically received booklets describing their benefits under these plans.
The 1980 booklet described insurance pro¬vided and carried the explicit disclaimer that it was “not the contract of insurance.” The book¬let differentiated between different categories of salaried employees and appeared to have been prepared for distribution to both active and retired employees.
The 1985 booklet was addressed specifi¬cally to retired employees. Much of the infor¬mation in the booklet made no distinction between the Welfare Benefit Plan and the Pen¬sion Plan, and its summary of an alleged can¬cellation clause referred to both plans:
“The Company fully intends to continue your plans indefinitely. However, the Company does reserve the right to change the Plans, and, if necessary to discontinue them. If it is necessary to discontinue the Pension Plan, the assets of the Pension Fund will be used to pro¬vide benefits according to the Plan document.”
No similar clause appeared in the 1980 booklet.
While the company was undergoing court supervised reorganization under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code, it decided to dis¬continue its noncontributory insurance coverage for its retired employees.
On the basis of the facts presented, assess whether the company is free to discontinue its noncontribu-tory insurance coverage for its retired employ¬ees. Explain your conclusion and use applicable law to support your response.
7. (TCO G) Gomez, the hiring manager at a Sizzler restaurant in Arizona, extended an offer to Rodriquez after having a long-distance telephone conversation with him while Rodriquez was in California working for a Sizzler restaurant there. On Rodriquez’s arrival, Gomez asked to see evidence of Rodriquez’s authorization to work in the United States. Rodriquez offered a driver’s license and what looked like a Social Security card. Gomez did not look at the back of the card nor compare it to the example in the Immigration and Naturalization handbook. In fact, Rodriquez’s card was a forgery, and the INS has assessed a fine against Sizzler restaurant, claiming that Gomez knew or should have known that the card was false. Determine whether Sizzler is liable under the IRCA. Identify and integrate applicable law and statutory authority to provide validity for your response. (Points: 30)
(TCO H) A & Z, Co. had a workplace policy of prohibiting the hiring of family members of current employees. On a number of occasions, however, the male children of current male employees had been hired, but no female children have ever been hired, even though many applied. Also, no children, male or female, of any current female employee, had ever been hired, even though, again, many had applied.
The female child of a current male employee files a lawsuit. Determine the legal basis for the claim and assess the likelihood of prevailing against A & Z, Co. From an employer perspective, what suggestions would you make in terms of best practices to minimize future legal liability? Utilize applicable law in your response. (Points: 30)