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Human Relations Scenario

Briefly answer the questions after reading each of the scenarios, based on U.S. business law.

1.You just had one of those days?exciting and overwhelming. As your company's director of human relations, you have dealt with an employee asking how much leave he can take when his wife has their first baby next month. A phone call from the company's CFO involved discussions of potential layoffs in order to "make the budget." A group of employees came to meet with you, and they indicated they were talking with union organizers as a way to combat the company's policy of monitoring phone calls and e-mail messages. Another group of employees expressed their feelings that they were not being paid for all the time they worked.
Before heading home, you take a few minutes to reflect and ask yourself the following questions:

How is the workday calculated?

What legal requirements have to be met before layoffs can occur?

What is the company's responsibility to educate employees about their rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act?

Can your company properly monitor its employees' phone calls and e-mail messages?

Is it possible to prohibit employees from joining a union?

How would having a unionized workforce change the way you do your job?

2. Martel, a competent male secretary to the president of ICU, was fired because the new president of the company believed it is more appropriate to have a female secretary.

(a) Has a violation of the law occurred?

(b) Assume that a violation of the law has occurred and Martel decided to take an extended vacation after he was fired. Upon his return seven months later, Martel filed suit in federal district court against ICU, charging illegal discrimination under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. What remedies will be available to him under the act?

Solution Preview

1. You just had one of those days?exciting and overwhelming. As your company's director of human relations, you have dealt with an employee asking how much leave he can take when his wife has their first baby next month. A phone call from the company's CFO involved discussions of potential layoffs in order to "make the budget." A group of employees came to meet with you, and they indicated they were talking with union organizers as a way to combat the company's policy of monitoring phone calls and e-mail messages. Another group of employees expressed their feelings that they were not being paid for all the time they worked.
Before heading home, you take a few minutes to reflect and ask yourself the following questions:

How is the workday calculated?
How a workday is calculated depends on the company policies, fair labor laws, and type of workday the employee is required to work. For instance, you have a "normal workday" which is 8 hours (9 if you have an hour lunch, 8 1/2 if you have a half hour lunch). There are the 9/80 work weeks which would mean your workday would be a 10 hour work day with an hour lunch, or a 9 1/2 hour work day with a 1/2 hour lunch. There are 4/10 workdays which are 4 11 hour days with one hour lunches (or 4 10 1/2 hour work days with a 1/2 hour lunch). Depending on the state or your employee classification, anything over 8 hours could be considered overtime worked or anything over a 40 hour week would be considered overtime as well. Again, it depends on the state in which you are employed. Another example is a fireman or nurse. Their workdays are 12 and 24 hour shifts and in some cases 72 hour shifts. In the case of the scenario above, I think it would be safe to say that the staff are all hourly and will be paid for an 8 hour day starting from 8 and ending at 5pm with a one hour lunch and two fifteen minute breaks throughout the day. They will be paid for the breaks, but the ...

Solution Summary

You just had one of those days?exciting and overwhelming. As your company's director of human relations, you have dealt with an employee asking how much leave he can take when his wife has their first baby next month. A phone call from the company's CFO involved discussions of potential layoffs in order to "make the budget." A group of employees came to meet with you, and they indicated they were talking with union organizers as a way to combat the company's policy of monitoring phone calls and e-mail messages. Another group of employees expressed their feelings that they were not being paid for all the time

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