Explain the possible legal theories for recovery

Employment Law Questions

1. Carla Thomas, a nonsmoker, often encouraged her co-workers to quit smoking. Her new manager, Paul, a smoker, was annoyed by what he considered her constant nagging. He moved her desk from a separate room with a window to a cubicle surrounded by smokers, who smoked all day. Paul refused Carla’s request to create a no-smoking area in the office and he refused her request to be moved back to the separate room. After four weeks of breathing secondhand smoke, Carla quit. What, if any, recourse does Carla have against her employer? Explain the possible legal theories for recovery and assess the likelihood of prevailing in the litigation.

2. Mary Smith was an employee of Thomas Contracts, a pipeline construction company.  Mary was supervised by H.D. Thomas, son of the owner of the business. She became involved in an affair with Thomas, who was married. Thomas ended the affair and subsequently fired Mary based on her performance since the affair began. Mary filed a suit against Thomas Contracts, alleging that her discharge was due to gender discrimination, sex discrimination, and in violation of Title VII. Analyze and determine whether she succeeded. Identify and explain the applicable law and statutory authority in conjunction with the facts in the scenario to support your conclusion.

3. John worked for Acme as a senior analyst. He suffered a heart attack and took medical leave from his job. Prior to the heart attack, his supervisor opened a locked drawer in his work desk and found prescription drugs that were not prescribed to John. The supervisor thought that John had been acting a bit strangely, but decided that he would confront him about it later. The supervisor did not confront John before the heart attack.

After six months, John returned to work on a part-time basis. John worked reduced hours for the next year. Acme was forced to reduce its workforce to cut costs. Acme conducted a performance appraisal of all managerial employees and discharged those with the lowest performance ratings.  John, because of his part-time status, had one of the lowest performance ratings. The company did not look at performance pro-rata based on hours worked. John sued and alleged that he was wrongfully terminated in violation of the ADA. John alleged that his termination was a result of his disability. Identify and analyze the potential claims and defenses. Utilize case law to support your responses and conclusions.

4. An electrical contractor required electricians and apprentices to wear hard hats and respirators when he felt job safety required them. An apprentice who was a member of the Sikh Aharma Brotherhood, which requires members to wear a beard and a turban, refused to comply. If the contractor does not require the apprentice to wear a hard hat and to shave, so that his respirator fits properly, explain whether the contractor will breach OSHA’s general duty clause. If the contractor does require the apprentice to remove his turban and shave his beard, to properly use the safety equipment, determine whether this is religious discrimination in violation of Title VII. Use case law and statutes to support your position.

5. While working as a carpenter with his own business for a furniture company, Jack was injured on the job and filed a worker’s compensation claim which listed the furniture company as his employer. Based upon the foregoing, will Jack be deemed an employee or an independent contractor? Analyze the fact pattern in conjunction with the legal factors that impact the employee versus independent contractor determination. Determine and explain the implications of this determination on Jack’s worker’s compensation claim. Incorporate applicable law as you analyze and interpret the scenario in conjunction with the legal elements of the claims.

6. In accepting an early retirement package from his employer, Eddy could not work as a hotel/restaurant worker. He took a job as a supervisor at a local restaurant. Eddy continued to receive full benefits from his previous employer for two years when he was informed that the pension plan had changed and that his benefits would be terminated because he was working in the hotel/restaurant industry. Apply the legal criteria of ERISA to the scenario and analyze what, if any, legal recourse is available to Eddy. Identify the potential legal claim and assess the likelihood of prevailing in conjunction with the potential employer liability.

7. A hiring manager did not properly verify I9 documentation for a new employee. In fact, the new hire’s social security card was a forgery, and the INS assessed a fine against the employer claiming that it knew or should have known that the card was false. Determine whether this company is liable under the IRCA. Identify and integrate applicable law and statutory authority to provide validity for your response.

8. A & Z, Co. had a workplace policy of prohibiting the hiring of family members of current employees. On a number of occasions, however, the male children of current male employees had been hired, but no female children had ever been hired, even though many applied. Also, no children, male or female, of any current female employee, had ever been hired, even though, again, many had applied.

The female child of a current male employee files a lawsuit. Determine the legal basis for the claim and assess the likelihood of prevailing against A & Z, Co. From an employer perspective, what suggestions would you make in terms of best practices to minimize future legal liability? Utilize applicable law in your response.

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