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Various discrimination scenarios

1. During the interview Gale had with Leslie Accounting Firm, Gale was asked whether she had any children, whether she planned to have any more children, to what church she belonged and what her husband did for a living. Are these questions illegal? Why or why not?

2. Dave comes into the office and says to Sue: "Good morning! You look great today! Oops, I'd better not say that. That's sexual harassment." Is Dave correct? Explain.

3. At the end of all her written communications, an employee writes, "have a blessed day." One of employer's most important clients requests that employee not do so, and employer asks employee to stop. Employee refuses, saying it is a part of her religion. If employee sues the employer for religious discrimination, then is she likely to win? Why or why not?

4. An over-forty employee of the New York Transit Authority is denied a promotion to station supervisor after he refuses to submit to an electrocardiogram (EKG) as part of a physical. The NYTA required the physical, and therefore the EKG's, for all supervisory position candidates who were under forty and who had problematic medical histories, as well all candidates over forty. The NYTA contended that the examination and test were necessary because of the physical demands of the position. It also argued that people over forty have an increased risk of heart disease, hence the EKG requirement. How would you determine whether this employee should be required to undergo the test?

5. Michael Jamison was a police officer with the City of Jamesville, Missouri Police Department. After working there for four years, he was appointed Jamesville's Acting Chief of Police. One year later, Smith was appointed Mayor and Robinson succeeded Jamison as Permanent Chief of Police. Jamison and Smith did not have a good relationship; Smith instituted disciplinary proceedings against him and fired him on several occasions (but the Jamesville Board overturned the decisions each time). After Smith heard a rumor that Jamison was associating with a reputed drug dealer, she ordered that Jamison undergo urinalysis testing and told him that failure to comply would result in serious disciplinary actions. The Order requiring the testing stated that Smith understood this rumor to mean that Jamison was involved in "some type of illegal drug use and/or abuse." Jamison complied with her order and all tests were found to be negative. However, Smith's Order remained in Jamison's personnel file. When he later left the Department and sought work elsewhere, Jamison was unable to find employment as a result of this Order in his file. Jamison filed suit claiming damages as a result of the City's wrongful and vengeful testing program. Will he win? Why or why not?

Solution Preview

1. The questions are not legal. They are discriminatory on the basis of gender and religion. Often having children or planning to have children can be used for time off, but the Americans with Disability Act and Family Leave Acts both provide protections some employers don't like.

2. No it is not sexual harassment. Sexual harassment must make a person feel degraded or uncomfortable about the working ...

Solution Summary

Brief answers to several discrimination scenarios.

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