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Legal issues and employment performance scenario

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1. What mistakes, if any, has David made in his appraisal activities?

2. Is there the possibility of a legal challenge if he chooses to demote Jack? Melony? On what basis?

3. What related court cases are applicable to this case and why?

David is a department head at statewide Insurance Company. He has been with the company for 30 years and knows his way around quite well. He has two aubordinates, jack Smith and Melony Watson. Jack, a white male, has been employed by the company for 15 years. he has always been cooperative, loyal,dependable, but not an especoially good supervisor. Recently, David noticed that jack has begun to "slip" on the performance of some of his duties. On the other hand, Melony, an African American, has worked at Statewide Insurance for about six years. She is a very ambitious, energetic; and dependable supervisor who grasps problems quickly and easily, David has to cokmplete performance appraisal forms on both individuals semi-annually.

Last quarter he didi his apraisal reviews with a great deal of displeasure since he hated to face the unpleasantness of a negative appraisal-feedback interview. As a result both employees "above average" on most dimensions. In the feedback interviews, both supervisors appeared to be satisfied with the ratings they had received. He recommended that they both receive standard cost of living salary increases.

Recently business had begun to fall of as a result of the general economic down turn and reduction in force had been put into effect.This week, after a number of other people were laid off or demoted it, became necessary to move either Jack Smith or melony Watson from the position of supervisor to that of a clerk in the processing section until business picked up. David wants to keep Melony on the supervisory job, but on the basis of the appraisals there is no difference between the two. In the past when two employees have had the same ratings, the person with the most seniority receives priority. David must decide today what to do.

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Hi there!
You have an interesting scenario here. Here, there seems to be a bona fide reduction in the workforce, so David's motivations are probably not discriminatory or wrongful. (However, you will note that under Title VII, intent to discriminate does not matter.) The reasons for keeping Jack in his present position due to his seniority and experience (more than twice as much as Melody) could be legitimate reasons.
There are several theories under which either employee may attempt to hold David and/or the company liable. These theories include Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Civil Rights Act of 1991, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), negligence (breach of duty to conduct appraisals with due care), and misrepresentation ...

Solution Summary

Theories include Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Civil Rights Act of 1991, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), negligence (breach of duty to conduct appraisals with due care), and misrepresentation (disclosure of untrue favorable performance information that presents a risk of harm to prospective employers or third parties).

Similar Posting

Legal Risk in Employment in the state of Vermont with three problematic scenarios dealing with employment-at-will, sexual harassment and gender discrimination, and workers compensation.

Looking for some direction on 3 legal encounters.

The following three Legal Encounters involve NewCorp, your employer. You are required to provide a brief answer to the questions asked at the end of each encounter. Your boss expects a substantive answer, not simply a recommendation to refer matters to an attorney. The majority of businesses in the U.S. do not have staff counsel, and your boss does not want to spend money getting advice until after you provide an assessment. In your answer, identify what legal principles support your decision. All encounters can be supported from legal principles found in the readings for this week, including cases and statutes.

Legal Encounter 1: Newcorp hired Pat Grey as manager of real property for Newcorp in Vermont, responsible for activities related to maintaining leased office space. In that role, Pat supervised 51 employees and lower-level supervisors, and dealt with tenants who leased commercial space. For the job, Pat relocated from another city 300 miles away, moving his spouse and children, selling and buying a home, and dealing with a spouse having to quit her job to seek employment in the new state.

After Pat had been on the job for three months, his boss explained that things did not seem to be working out, and said that Pat would be discharged with 30 days severance pay. Pat was surprised because his employer gave no indication of any problem on the job. Newcorp's Personnel Manual, which had been provided to Pat upon his acceptance of employment, outlined the process for dealing with unsatisfactory employees:

Notice of Unsatisfactory Performance/Corrective Action Plan

If the job performance of an employee is unsatisfactory, the employee will be notified of the deficiency and placed on a Corrective Action Plan (CAP). If the employee performance does not improve to a satisfactory level within the specified period of time, termination will follow.

Pat acknowledged that upon employment, he signed an understanding that the company observed employment at will with respect to employment and discharge, but believed that the above provision limited Newcorp's freedom to fire him at will. Finally, Pat observes that Newcorp senior management was "noticeably unfriendly" after Pat had been vocal at a local school board meeting. In the meeting, Pat insisted that school sports funds should be equally allocated among all student athletic programs, not just concentrated on the boy's football and basketball programs. His position on the matter was unpopular, and although no one at the school board meeting identified Pat as a Newcorp employee, he believed that this contributed to the Newcorp decision to discharge him.

What liability and rights, if any, do Newcorp or Pat have in this situation? What legal principles (statutory or case law) supports those rights and liabilities? Remember to limit your answer to 350 words.

Legal Encounter 2: Newcorp employed Sam as a supervisor of electrical manufacturing for auto under-dash wiring harnesses. Sam's department employed about 100 men and women to create the wiring, coat it with various insulators, and then connect it to different types of universal couplings so car speedometers, oil gauges, and other instruments would work. The final product, an under-dash wiring harness, was sent to the final assembly plant for installation in cars.

Sam developed a relationship with one of his female employees, Paula. They began dating and it turned into a torrid affair that included frequent trysts at the workplace. Paula later met and began dating a man who did not work for Newcorp, and thereafter ended the affair with Sam. Sam did not give up easily and continued touching Paula and exhibiting a variety of other unwelcome behaviors, even after Paula clearly told him to stop. Sam suggested that Paula's work might be suffering from a "lack of interest" on her part, and since she stopped dating him, she seemed to lack interest in work quality.

Paula decided to get away from Sam, and applied for a transfer to the wire-coating section, which would not be directly under Sam's control. Sam blocked the transfer, citing company policy that there was evidence that the chemicals used in wire coatings could harm an early-state fetus being carried by a newly-pregnant woman. Because Paula was a young woman who could become pregnant, Sam argued, Newcorp could not take the chance for Paula to work in wire coating due to the possibility of Newcorp liability for a resulting birth defect. Paula believed this was probably Sam's way of keeping her under his thumb, and that even if it was not, it was discrimination based on sex and therefore illegal.

What liability, if any, does Newcorp have in this situation? What can and cannot Newcorp do? In your answer, identify what legal principles (statutory or case law) support your belief. Remember to limit your answer to 350 words.

Legal Encounter 3: Paul called OSHA to complain about Newcorp requiring him to work in a dangerous situation.

Newcorp employed Paul as senior maintenance technician, which required him to work in confined spaces to repair equipment. Repair of the pulp shredder was particularly difficult because the space in which Paul worked was very narrow and the machine noise and vibration irritated Paul when he turned the machine on and off during repairs. After one employee was injured while working on the machine, Newcorp moved the machine a little to create more working area, but nearby building support beams allowed little movement for the machine.

Paul refused to work on the machine, saying that it was still too confining and dangerous. The safety manager for Newcorp reviewed the area and deemed it safe. Paul also said that he became claustrophobic because of working in such confining spaces, and that this condition arose out of his employment, making it a worker compensation issue. In addition to calling OSHA, Paul threatened to get a lawyer and sue Newcorp. Management was not sure what legal principles apply to the circumstances presented in this situation.

What liability, if any, does Newcorp have in this situation? What regulatory and compliance requirements and legal principles (statutory or case law) are relevant to this situation? Remember to limit your answer to 350 words.

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