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Ethical and Legal Issues in Employment

Select ONE of the scenarios below and explain the best solution. Include comments related to ethical issues that may arise.

Scenario 1
Specialty Automotive operates several manufacturing plants throughout the United States, all of which are unionized. Carol Smith, a devout Adventist, was hired six weeks ago to work at the Specialty Automotive facility in Ohio. For the purpose of this question, assume that the Adventist religion is legally recognized. Since Carol lacks seniority, she was assigned to the evening shift on the production line, which required her to work on Friday nights. Carol's religion prohibits her from working from sundown Friday until sundown Saturday, but she did not mention this during her interview. Eventually, Carol was fired for her continued Friday night absence from work. Accommodating Carol would require Specialty to use a temporary employee to replace her every Friday night. This would mean that Specialty would incur additional expenses as reports showed that lower efficiency and increased accidents occur when temporary employees are used.

Carol sued Specialty, claiming religious discrimination. Specialty defended claiming that Carol was not fired for religious discrimination but for absenteeism.

Is this a case of unfair discrimination? Why or why not?
How does the union factor into the result?
Will Carol succeed in her discrimination suit? Why or why not?

Scenario 2
Mercury Marine Manufacturing, Inc. (Mercury) hired Daniel as Director of Purchasing. Daniel was authorized to make contracts to buy materials for Mercury. On many occasions, Daniel contracted to buy fasteners from Allied Industries. On September 30, Mercury terminated Daniel's employment. On October 10, Daniel contacted Allied to purchase materials on behalf of Mercury. Daniel provided a new delivery address, accepted delivery and wrongfully kept the materials. Allied was not aware that Mercury terminated Daniel. On October 15, Mercury provided written notice to Allied Industries that Daniel had been terminated.

When was Daniel's express authority to act for Mercury effectively terminated?
Did Daniel have authority to make the October 10 contract with Allied? If so, what type of authority did he have?
Is Mercury obligated to perform the October 10 contract?
What should Mercury have done differently?

Solution Preview

Scenario 1
This is not a case of religious discrimination. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not allow an employer to deny a requested reasonable accommodation of an applicant's or employee's sincerely held religious beliefs or practices -or lack thereof - If an accommodation will not impose more than a de minimis cost or burden on business operations. In case of Carol Smith there is no evidence that she has requested reasonable accommodation from Specialty Automotive. On the contrary by keeping herself absent week after week on Friday night, Carol Smith violated employment laws. She was fired for absenteeism.

Under the union contract there must have been a provision for dismissal for absenteeism; otherwise Specialty would not have dismissed Carol. Normally, progressive ...

Solution Summary

The answer to this problem explains legal and ethical issues in employment . The references related to the answer are also included.