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1. Petit v. City of Chicago - Just to show you how quickly law evolves, a June 29, 2009 opinion by the Supreme Court has rendered our textbook obsolete before you ever start using it. First, look up the Petit case in your textbook. On what basis did the court conclude that the use of race in these promotion decisions was "narrowly tailored?" Next, look for the Ricci v. DeStefano case opinion. The current link is http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/07-1428.ZO.html. What is the rationale for the different results in those two cases? Which case do you agree with? Why?

2. There is a perception among some that affirmative action results in quotas and reverse discrimination. Discuss the justification for affirmative action and whether affirmative action indeed results in quotas and reverse discrimination. Include your opinion.

3. Contact the Human Resource manager at your company, division, or another company. If you are in the military make a cold call to a civilian company. Explain that you are a student in the Employment Law class. Ask the manager to summarize a situation he/she has encountered regarding FMLA, national origin, or sexual orientation. Explain the background, the particular issue, and how the company resolved it. Add your evaluation of the way the situation was handled in light of your reading in the chapter.

4. The ADA creates a protected class called "qualified individuals with disabilities." Discuss what this phrase means and how one qualifies for protection.

5. Would you recommend that an employer offer domestic partner benefits? Why or why not, based on a comparison to the "traditional" arguments of offering benefits? If so, would you recommend it for all domestic partners or only same sex partners? Justify our answer using legal and business arguments, minimizing emotional arguments.

6. Employers should not ignore employees starting work early, staying beyond scheduled hours, or coming in to work on days off. In regard to the FLSA and compensable time, explain the legal rationale for having such a policy in place. Why is ignoring those behaviors a dangerous policy?

7. Should card-check procedures be allowed to determine employee's desire for union representation or only formal representation elections? What result does it favor? What is the main objection to its use? How can that objection be moderated?

8. Why should an employer avoid using global performance ratings unless they are derived by combining ratings on more specific criteria? Focus on the legal issues rather than on the HR issues.

9. Explain the elements of the claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress. Quote the actual elements of the claim and cite your source. Try to use the "best" source for your citation. Add a follow-up sentence(s) in which you explain what that element means in practical terms. Summarize a case in which that claim was changed. What was the result? Cite any sources used.

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Solution Summary

A law case study is examined. The perception among some that affirmative action results in quotas and reverse discrimination is determined.

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1. The Court decided based upon precedent in Texas v. Lesage, 528 U.S. 18, 120 SCt 467, 145 L.Ed.2d 347 (1999) wherein dismissal of equal protection claims were considered appropriate because it was undisputed that the applicants in this case would have been rejected regardless of any alleged discrimination. In Petit v. City of Chicago the Court held that, similar to Texas v. Lesage, the dismissed plaintiffs in the case would have not been promoted regardless of any standardization of test results. Therefore, their argument claiming violation of equal protection rights has no cognizable injury.

In Ricci v. DeStefano the Court overturned the ruling given by the District Court concluding that race-based actions in accordance to what the city of New Haven attempted to initiate are impermissible under Title VII unless the employer demonstrates strong evidence dictating had the action not taken place it would have been liable under the disparate-impact statute. The city was unable to meet this threshold standard and; therefore, their actions violated Title VII.

The rationale for why this decision differed from Petit was because, in this case, race-based decision making was the catalyst resulting in adverse employment actions because of the race of the firefighters in this case as opposed to race not being a factor in Petit according to the Court.



2. Affirmative action is justified by the racially discriminatory system that even today practices subtle racism in addition to the rationale that for centuries' opportunities for minorities were denied. These minorities did not get a reasonable foothold in the workforce until passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Legislation with many still having to display much higher marks to get hired than their white counterparts. The institutional racism that permeates all facets of society blocking economic upward mobility for minorities necessitates the use of affirmative action. Institutional racism is in universities, corporate America, public sector jobs, and virtually any field that would enable minorities to gain significant upward mobility to rise out of poverty.

Affirmative action does not result in reverse discrimination because it levels the playing field to a certain extent, mandating that quotas for minorities are in place within the aforementioned social venues for economic upward mobility. These quotas ensure that minorities will have a chance to rise out of poverty by being accepted into areas that research has shown results in higher socioeconomic mobility. In contrast to the allegations of reverse discrimination that opponents attempt to throw at the use of affirmative action, the use of affirmative action prevents discrimination by ensuring diversity in fields or social venues historically white and un-open to minorities.

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