What is Discrimination?
You are the Vice President of Operations for Ted’s, an office supply company that has four locations.
The company is in an at will state and has a handbook setting out policies and procedures with regard to treatment of customers and to each other employee.
One of the Assistant Store Managers is leaving. She recommends that Wanda, a middle age Afro-American, take the position. Wanda is very pleasant with the customers and knows how the store functions, while working as a floating cashier/floor help.
You discuss the possibility of promoting Wanda with the Store Manager, Gary, who is gay. He tells you that he has no problem with Wanda taking the position and believes that she can do well.
You advise Wanda that she is being promoted to be the Assistant Store Manager, initially on a ninety day probationary basis. She is to shadow Gary and eventually work the later afternoon shift as the Assistant Store Manager.
Wanda begins the job quite well. However, there are regular shortages from the registers when she is in charge. The company’s policy is that the manager in charge must compensate the company if the shortages are more than five dollars. Wanda’s team has shortages ranging from ten to twenty dollars several times during the week.
Wanda is also a church goer and believes, as she tells every employee in the store, that gay marriage and the gay life style is a sin against God and that all gays must change their ways. She tells Gary that she can help him transition from a homosexual to a heterosexual orientation. Gary tells her that his life style is none of her business and, more so, is irrelevant to how they do their job.
The Regional Manager comes to you and tells you that Wanda is a disaster and that she should either be terminated or moved back to her original position prior to the end of the ninety day probationary period.
You meet with Wanda and tell her that she has to perform better or else she will lose her job. She tells you that she will but believes that the complaints are due to Gary, because he is gay and anti-Afro-American. You tell her that the issue is not Gary but her performance and the regular shortages at the cash registers.
Things continue badly with respect to Wanda and the shortages continuing as well as Wanda telling co-workers that gays need to repent or face eternal damnation. She also has told customers that the company is hostile to her and to write letters to management, asking that they make her the Store Manager and terminate Gary. Some do send letters to the company.
The Regional Manager now tells you that, as the probationary period is ending, Wanda must be fired. You call Wanda in an advise her that she is being terminated. She says that she wants her pink slip. You tell her that such is not necessary. She then says that this will not be the end. Several days later, she files for unemployment. You go to the hearing and present evidence that she was terminated for cause. She then goes to the EEOC and files a claim of racial discrimination, religious discrimination and hostile work environment The EEOC sends you a copy of her Statement of Charges and asks you to respond. What information and materials do you present to them?
In the meantime, Gary has also contacted a lawyer and has been advised by the lawyer that he should meet with upper management to discuss the problem he had with Wanda and to see whether some form of compensation/arrangement can be worked out as a settlement. If not, he will file a claim with the state EEOC variant on the basis of sexual harassment, specifically due to his sexual orientation.
You are tasked with gathering up information for the EEOC complaint. What information do you need?
Secondly, how do you handle Gary’s claim?
Please legal research to support your analysis.
Sexual Harassment and Hostile Work Environment
What is sexual harassment
You are the General Manager of a restaurant.
It has 35 employees, most of whom are women and a majority of whom are between the ages of 16 through 23. The male employees range in age from 22 to 62.
There is no employee handbook. Required federal and state notices are posted on a back wall and have not been replaced in five years.
One day one of the female wait staff, who is 23, comes to you with a problem. The Maître D’, who is 62 years old and Iranian, has been “hitting on her.” He has come up to her during her shift and says that she has beautiful eyes and that she reminds him of Audrey Hepburn in the movie, Breakfast at Tiffany’s. He says that he likes to watch the movie, wants her to come over to his apartment and to share the experience. She tells him to “buzz off.” She has already gone to the Shift Supervisor and related the story to her. The Shift Supervisor told her that, if he does it again, she should tell him that she has a boyfriend, who just might come around and show him a thing or two. She further relates to you that he stopped interacting with her and now does not give her the best tables in the restaurant. She also notes that apparently he has been doing similar things to other young girls, both bussers and wait staff.
You check with the Shift Supervisor, who says that she has heard about such stories but discounts them as he is a very cultured and charming individuals, who means no harm.
She also tells you that one of the female dishwashers, a church goer (known to the group as “the Church lady”), informed her that the 25 year old male chef frequently “dirty dances” in the kitchen, usually in front of the older female dishwashers. Most of them laugh at his actions. However, the “church lady” does not. When that person told her about his conduct, the Shift Supervisor told her that it was in good, clean fun and to ignore it.
Based upon all of these facts, you go to the owner. You inform her of what is going on. She says that you should tell all employees that, if they have a problem, they should put it in writing and send it to her for her review and decision making. She also posits that there is always fliriting in mixed company and that such does not constitue, under her understanding, sexual harassment in the work place.
She finally says that the first girl has been repeatedly late and is a trouble maker, having acted unprofessionally with the Maître D’. She is going to terminate her immediately. She also says that she will call in the Maitre D’ and tell him not to “flirt” with the female wait staff.
How do you handle this entire situation?
Please support your position with formal academic and/or professional support.
Religion in the Work Place
You are the Office Manager of a small manufacturing company, which has 60 employees. Its principal customer is the United States Department of Defense.
Fatima is a Lebanese American, who is the Receptionist.
She comes to you and tells you that, based upon all of the recent events in the Middle East, she has decided to reclaim her Islamic heritage. Because of her religious beliefs, she is now planning to be more overtly Moslem in dress and practice. She is going to wear a burkha, cover her head with the hijab and her face with the niqab. She also notes that she must pray, facing Mecca in the East, five times per day. She says that her prayer obligations can be done at her break time and at lunch time, thus resulting in minimal, if any, coverage issues in the office. She also asks that, for privacy purposes, she be allowed to use an empty office or a vacant conference room. Finally, she notes that she will be eating halal and requests that a section of a shelf in the lunch room refrigerator be dedicated for that purpose.
While you are considering her requests, a group of male employees come to you and say that they now want to establish a Christian prayer group. They would meet at lunch time in the break room, read passages of the Bible to each other and pray for the conversion of pagans everywhere.
How do you respond to these requests?
Please support your position with proper legal and/or professional support.
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