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Employment Law

These are the questions:

1. What is your assessment of the college's affirmation action attempts to recruit African American candidates?

2. How should president Jones response to perceptions and rumors?

3. Are the concerns about Dr. Wright's sexual preference a valid consideration?

4. Should President Jones discuss the search committee's suspicious with Dr. Wright's current employers-Why/Why not/

5. What are the legal ramifications in this case-and support ramifications.

Problem:

James Jones is president of Oceanside College a small private liberal arts college in south Florida. With the expectation of the Vice president fro Administration who is hispanic, all the senior administration at Oceanside are white.

The college's Vice president for Student Affairs and Dean of Students is due to retire at the end of the semester. President Jones established a search committe and charged them to make every attempt to recruit African-American candidates for this position. in addition to advertising the position in the "Chronicle of Higher education", the search committee placed advertisements in the newsletter of the Association of Minority Deans, and in the Minority Faculty Data Bank.

After sitting through dozens of resumes, reading many letters of recommentation and conducting countless telephone interviews. This candidate Dr. Wright, was the only African-American applicant to met all the experience and educational qualifications specified by the search committee.Dr. Wright has an impressive resume and has held a similar position at a prestigious college in the north-east for the past eight years. On paper, he was by far the most suitable applicant for the position. When contacted by phone, he indicated that he was tired of the long cold winters, and wished to move south.

April 3
Dr. Wright has just spent two days at oceanside meeting with a variety of faculty, administrators and students. After he had left campus, president Jones began receiving reviews from the various people who had interviewed Dr. Wright. The written reports were unanimous in their assessment that Dr. Jones was an outstanding candidates with impeccable credentials. When questioned privately, several of the administrators and faculty, and all of the students who had met Dr. Wright indicated that they suspended that he was gay.

Normally, President Jones would have responded "SO WHAT? But this time he listened to the suspicious differently. Just a few months ago, a history professor at Oceanside College Luis Firenze had died from AIDS. Professor Firenza had make no secret of his sexual preference, and there were always rumors, never substantiated, that students were were included among his partners.

A confidential memofrandum from the vice president for administration indicated that the college's medical insurance carrier had paid nearly $200,000 in medical and hospital bills related to Professor firenze's treatment. Last week, President Jones learned that a student is claiming that he contacted AIDS from professor Firenze and that his parents were planning to sue the college.

President Jones decided to wait until all the finalists had visited campus and he had the recommendations of the search committee members.

April 26
today, the Vice President for the Student Affairs and Dean of students Search Committee has concluded its on-campus interviews of the finalists. The remaining four candidates were good and it appears that they would each do a good job if chosen for the position. However, it was obvious to the committee members and to President Jones that more of them measured up to Dr. Wright in terms of expererience, qualifications, and potential to be an outstanding Dean of Students at Oceanside College.

Next week, president Jones will be attending the annual conference of the Independent Colleges and Universities Association. this conference is attended by presidents and senior administrators of private colleges from across the country. he knows that the president to the college where Josiah Wright is currently employed will also be attending the conference.

THANK YOU for your help, it is GREATLY appreciated.

Solution Preview

Please see response attached. I hope this helps and take care.

Law, Employment Law
Year 3
I need help answering some questions on EMPLOYMENT LAW
These are the questions:
Hi again,
Let's take a look at these questions:

1. What is your assessment of the college's affirmation action attempts to recruit African American candidates?

It is difficult to assess because we are not told how they recruited other candidates. It should be in a similar fashion. For example, we are told, "in addition to advertising the position in the "Chronicle of Higher education", the search committee placed advertisements in the newsletter of the Association of Minority Deans, and in the Minority Faculty Data Bank." Is this sufficient? It sounds kind of limited, but without knowing the process the University usually takes, it is difficult to assess when there is nothing to compare it to.

2. How should president Jones response to perceptions and rumors?

He should not respond to them, because sexual orientation should not be considered in the hiring process. Otherwise it is discrimination. However, since no Federal Laws protect private and public sectors (only federal employees), and Florida is not one of the 13 states that have laws that prohibit discrimination due to sexual orientation, it is not totally clear. However, some cities have there own laws dealing prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation in and most Universities have policies that prohibit discrimination, but it not specified in the scenario, but since another professor was gay who died of AIDS, it seems that the University had some policies in place against sexual orientation. They also paid for the professor's medical bills.
3. Are the concerns about Dr. Wright's sexual preference a valid consideration?

I can understand the concern since the last gay professor had sex with a student, who contacted HIV and had sued the University. However, with the last professor, it was not the fact that he was gay that was the problem (or it shouldn't be), it was having sex with students that was a breech of ethics, for which the University could have reprimanded him if they had proof. Also, it is cannot be assumed that because one gay professor had sex with his student, that Dr. Wright will also have sex with his students.
That aside, the concern with Dr. Wright is NOT a valid consideration because it is against the law to discriminate against a person for sexual orientation, if this city has discrimination laws based on sexual orientation. If not, there are other laws listed in #5 that might allow for some legal remedy. If the Universities have policies in place, it is an ethical consideration not a legal one.
Also, sexual preference does not affect the performance of his job; therefore it should not be considered. However, this is an ethical, and not a legal consideration if there are indeed no laws in place in the city where the University is located. Unfortunately, I was unable to find this information, so hopefully you will have more luck.
4. Should President Jones discuss the search committee's suspicious with Dr. Wright's current employers-Why/Why not/

No, he should not, especially if he wants to avoid another potential lawsuit for discrimination in the hiring process based on sexual discrimination. That is assuming there are laws in place.
5. What are the legal ramifications in this case-and support ramifications.

Job applicants have legal rights even before they become employees. Under federal law, an employer cannot illegally discriminate in its hiring process based on a job applicant's race, national origin, gender, pregnancy, age, disability, or religion. State and local laws may specify additional protected classes based on factors such as the sexual orientation of a job applicant. Employers must abide by anti-discrimination laws at each stage of the hiring process, from placing a job ad, to interviewing, to the final selection of the candidate to be hired.
After an extensive on-line search, Florida does not seem to have any state laws prohibiting discrimination based on Sexual Orientation. However, the city of the University might have laws as mentioned above, or the University in our scenario might have policies in place prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, because they didn't seem to discriminate against the last professor, and even paid his medial bills. However, law does not protect the latter, as it is an ethical concern when it is part of policy.
Or, are the Universities in U.S. government run? There are government laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation in the workplace and in hiring, which we look at below, following the information on State Laws.
Florida is not included in the State listed below:
State Laws
Although women, minorities, people older than 40 and people with disabilities now enjoy an umbrella of state and federal protections from discrimination in the workplace, gays and lesbians have, for the most part, been left out in the rain, at least at the national level. There is no federal law that specifically outlaws workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in the private sector -- although federal government workers are currently protected from such discrimination.
At the state level, however, there is more cause for hope. Thirteen states have laws prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination in both private and public jobs: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Wisconsin. The District of Columbia also prohibits sexual orientation discrimination in both the public and private sectors. In addition, eight states have laws prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination in public workplaces only: Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Montana, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Washington.
If the state (Florida) does not have a law that protects from workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation, the employee may still be protected by city and county ordinances. You might want check the city out where this University is. I had not luck finding information in this regards.
There are at least 124 cities and counties that prohibit discrimination in the workplace on the basis of sexual orientation -- from Albany, NY, to Ypsilanti, MI. In addition, some enlightened companies have adopted their own policies prohibiting such discrimination. (4) Therefore, if this University is in one of these cities, then Dr. Wright is protected under the law from discrimination based on sexual orientation. I checked the site and couldn't find any information for the specific cities.
Federal Laws; Federal Employees
Interestingly, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) does not enforce the protections that prohibit discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation, status as a parent, marital status and political affiliation. However, other federal agencies and many states and municipalities do. The relevant federal agencies are listed below.
In the federal government the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 (CSRA), as amended, prohibits federal employees who have authority to take, direct others to take, recommend or approve any personnel action from discriminating against applicants and employees on the bases of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, marital status or political affiliation and from discriminating against an applicant or employee on the basis of conduct which does not adversely affect the performance of the applicant or employee. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has interpreted the prohibition of discrimination based on "conduct" to include discrimination based on sexual orientation. See Addressing Sexual Orientation ...

Solution Summary

In reference to the case, this solution responds to the related questions on recruiting minority students, sexual preference, etc.

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