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Employment Law Case Study

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Case Study

This Case Study is based on a work scenario. For this scenario, pretend that you are an HR representative and you are preparing a memorandum for the VP of HR.

The memo will analyze a set of facts that occurred in your company and conclude with an assessment as to whether your company is liable. This is a role-play assignment, and your objective is to develop a unique scenario and then play the role of the HR representative all the way through your memo, just as if you were the HR representative and this really happened!

For this memo, you may develop any scenario you desire, and the legal issue can be based upon any of the topics that you have reviewed during this course. However, the scenario must include that the supervisor of the employee(s) in question is advocating for the termination of one or more employees.

You may or may not agree with the supervisor’s sentiment and will address this in your memo to your boss. You will break your memo into at least five paragraphs (make sure to assess whether termination will lead to any liability in paragraph four, and include in your recommendation paragraph five whether termination is warranted), as follows:

  • Paragraph 1.

Identify the issue that you are dealing with; present the problem to your boss. Is it a concern about discriminatory treatment? Are the employees engaging in concerted activity? Is an employee being sexually harassed? You decide.

  • Paragraph 2.

Outline the facts of the case. Tell the story. What did the employee(s) do that is of concern to you and prompted the drafting of this memo? In your scenario, advise your boss that you believe the employee (or ex-employee if the person has quit or has been fired) is preparing to sue the company.

  • Paragraph 3.

Identify the statute that is in question (is this a potential FMLA, FLSA, ADA, or some other issue?) and a legal case from the textbook that seems similar to your scenario. Look up the case on the Internet and read about it. Be sure you understand the important facts of the case and why (or why not) the court ruled in favor of the employee/employer. Analyze the case in this paragraph of your memo.

Explain its relevance and how the facts are similar to the facts involving your scenario. You are not limited to discussing only one relevant case, but do not discuss more than two so that your memo is not too long.

  • Paragraph 4.

Determine whether or not the company has any legal liability or exposure based upon your comparison of the facts in your scenario with the facts and decision of the court case(s) you analyzed.

  • Paragraph 5.

Give your boss a recommendation. Whether you think the company might be liable or not, you should have recommendations to your boss relative to how to deal with the situation (defuse it) and how to guard against future situations like this arising.

Lastly, make sure to include at the very end a “References” section. You should have at least three sources/citations for your memorandum. It is likely that one will be the textbook, one will be the court case you reference, and a third might be a statute, article, a second case, or some other relevant case.

The memo should not be longer than three-and-a-half double-spaced pages in length, excluding the references.

Including the references, it should not exceed four pages. You will have to be concise in what you say! However, if it is shorter than one and a half single-spaced pages in length, excluding the references, you have likely not done a sufficient job analyzing the situation.

Assignment Solution

To: HR Supervisor

From: HR’s name

Date:<date>

Subject: Addressing employee harassment case at the workplace (Company name)

This is regarding the employee harassment case filed with the company by Ms. X against her supervisor Mr. Y on 4th May, 2015. Mr. Y’s supervisor, Mrs. Z has requested the company to terminate the employment contract of Mr. Y. I would like to highlight a few important points regarding the situation in hand and provide a few suggestions with respect to the case.

Ms. X, a Senior Manager with us, in her recent communication with our company has held Mr. Y, a Vice President, responsible for abusing her physically and mentally during the period of January, 2015 and March, 2015. She has highlighted a few examples including Mr. Y asking for favor’s from her on the pretext of promoting her to the level of Assistant Vice President. She has also attached samples of some conversations that she has had with Mr. Y and her fellow colleagues regarding the matter. She is planning to approach the local court to prove Mr. Y guilty of all charges. She is waiting to hear from our end. It is on these grounds that Mrs. Z, a Senior Vice President, has filed for the termination of her reportee Mr. Y’s contract.

Ms. X claims to have had decent working relations with Mr. Y since she joined his team on 24th April, 2014. They have worked on around 6 projects till now and all of them have been completed within schedule. However, Ms. X started feeling concerned about her security since the night of December 13th, 2014 when Mr. Y sent her around 16 texts within a span of 10 minutes asking for her wellbeing. Despite her reluctance, Mr. Y seems to have waited for her to finish her work every day and has also dropped her home a few times in the said period. Even though Ms. X insisted that she was uncomfortable, Mr. Y kept calling her up late in the night in the pretext of having some important office work. Things got a little out of hand when Mr. Y suddenly turned up at Ms. X’s house in an inebriated state asking for sexual favors. When she insisted that he leave, he tried to slap her and warned her of dire consequences including withholding her promotion. Mr. Y also seems to have made it clear to Ms. X that her promotion will be withheld on the grounds that she is woman and is not ready to cooperate. Now Ms. X is planning to sue Mr. Y and our company for sexual advancements, harassment and partiality at the workplace. Mrs. Z, apart from keeping the judiciary system in mind, has spoken to both the parties concerned and has come to the conclusion that Mr. Y is indeed at fault and hence she wants to initiate the termination process.

After analysing the facts of the case and talking to some colleagues of Ms. X, it is clear that Mr. Y is indeed guilty of the crime. As per Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, discrimination based on sex, race or religion and sexual harassment are prohibited at the workplace. All employees are to be treated with respect, dignity and equality. A few employees have also testified against Mr. Y’s behavior and conduct. Conversation history and a few cases have been looked into closely by our team to come to a conclusion that Mr. Y is on the wrong side of the law.

In the event that Ms. X sues us, we, as a company that Mr. Y has worked with, will be liable to pay damages of up to USD 2 Million to Ms. X since she has faced many issues at our workplace, which went unnoticed. We have the option of hiring a lawyer to prove that we do not support the behavior, conduct and recent events concerning Mr. Y. A few other liabilities and charges like attorney fees and lost wages may be applicable to us depending on further allegations by Ms. X. However, since we were kept in the dark regarding the matter and also because of the fact that we could have helped Ms. X had we known about the incident earlier, things could work in our favour. A similar case had taken place in iGATE Technologies Inc. in California in February, 2015 when the global general counsel Mukund Srinath was held guilty for sexual harassment of a co-worker. Mukund had supposedly propositioned her and withheld her promotion after she refused to meet him alone in a hotel room. Investigations however proved that the claim was without any merit.

Coming back to our case, I feel that strict action needs to be taken against Mr. Y and all other individuals found guilty of such crimes since it is very important for us to create a safe environment for everyone. I completely agree with Mrs. Z’s action and would request that we come up with a swift response to the same.

I would recommend that we convene a meeting with all the parties concerned and take a serious view of the issue at hand. Also, a lawyer of excellent credentials needs to be taken on board to help us through this rough time. To avoid such situations from arising in the future, I would recommend revising our harassment policy (a copy of which has been attached for your reference) a bit and propagating the same across all levels and departments. Our policy was last updated on 1st June, 2014. A few modifications, little more stringent actions, regular sessions and counselling support services are suggested.

I will follow this memo up with a list of action items for our team. I will also send you the relevant documents in place for dealing with such issues in the organisation. The reasons for the incident, employee’s action and termination must be discussed thoroughly to avoid such incidents in the future. Please let me know when I can schedule a meeting for the same.

Thanking you.

<Hr’s name and details>

References:

Know Your Rights: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (n.d.) Retrieved from

http://www.aauw.org/what-we-do/legal-resources/know-your-rights-at-work/title-vii/

FMLA, ADA, FLSA and more: The 10 employment laws every manager should know (2005). Retrieved from

http://www.thehrspecialist.com/1436/FMLA_ADA_FLSA_and_more_The_10_employment_laws_every_manager_should_know.hr?cat=hr_management&sub_cat=Safety_Health

SAMPLE MEMOS FOR WORKPLACE ISSUES (n.d.) Retrieved from

https://workplacecredibleactivist.wordpress.com/sample-memos-for-sticky-workplace-scenarios/

Former iGate employee Karetha Dodd files sexual harassment case against legal head Mukund Srinath (5th February, 2015) Retrieved from

http://www.americanbazaaronline.com/2015/02/05/former-igate-employee-karetha-dodd-files-sexual-harassment-case-legal-head-mukund-srinath/

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