1.(TCO A) Alice Jones was employed as a clerk-typist by a company. She requested and was refused a vacation day. The employer’s refusal was based on her failure to submit the request at least two weeks in advance as required by company policy. She announced that she would take the day anyway, and when she subsequently failed to report for work, was fired for insubordination, plus the unexcused absence. Jones claimed that the company’s real reason for firing her was a complaint that she had made to her state’s department of labor concerning elimination of employee rest breaks.
Explain and evaluate the possible causes of action available to Jones, and identify and explain the possible defenses available to Jones’ employer with regard to each cause of action. Integrate case law and statutory support into your response. (Points : 30)
2.(TCO B) Jaro was a disc jockey for MNLO, a radio station in San Francisco. He initially broadcasted in only English. The station program director asked him to use some Spanish street phrases and slang in an effort to attract Hispanic listeners and increase the station’s audience. After reviewing the ratings, the station manager concluded that the use of Spanish on the air actually decreased the station audience, because it confused listeners as to the nature of the programming, the rest of which was in English. Jaro was then instructed to broadcast in only English. Jaro continued to use Spanish while on the air and was ultimately fired. He filed a complaint alleging Title VII violations based on national origin discrimination. Explain and analyze the basis for Jaro’s Title VII complaint, and whether it would result in liability on the part of the station. Determine the remedies available to Jaro, if any. Use case law to support your analysis and conclusion. (Points : 30)
3.(TCO C) 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. (Points : 30)
4.(TCO D) A house-moving company was moving a house and came close to three 7,200 volt power lines. Fire was observed where the house’s lighting rod came too close to one of the power lines. Two employees were electrocuted and three more were injured. Analyzing the fact pattern, determine whether the company violated OSHA’s general duty clause, or if this was merely an unfortunate accident. Assuming that passing close to the wires was unavoidable, identify the steps that the company might have taken to avoid the tragedy. (Points : 30)
5.(TCO E) Julie is a fruit picker and has worked for the same company for three years. Between April and June 2005, she, along with 300 other fruit pickers, worked at this company. The workers, including Julie, worked an average of 40 hours per week, five days per week, during the entire three-month period. Beginning in July, 2005, the workers were required to work a minimum of 55 hours per week. The workers were not paid overtime for the hours worked in excess of 40.
Identify and analyze the possible claims that Julie has against her employer. Identify and evaluate the legal basis for the claim, the potential recovery, and the likelihood of prevailing against her employer. (Points : 30)
6.(TCO F) The trustee of an ERISA-qualified plan, and also a participant in the plan, denied a discretionary payment of a lump-sum accrued benefit to a participant who had terminated his employment. The participant sues, claiming the denial of the discretionary payment is self-dealing. Determine whether the participant will prevail. Articulate the basis for your conclusion, using applicable case law and statutory authority. (Points : 30)
7.(TCO G) 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. (Points : 35)
8.(TCO H) Calvin Black was hired as the manager for a law firm in June 1992. In his first year in the position, he created a time-keeping system that saved the firm $13,000 per month, negotiated leases to lower rental payments by $43,000, lowered client disbursement costs by $200,000, and reduced overtime costs by $40,000. The firm’s partners gave him a performance evaluation, stating that they were “very satisfied” with his performance. He received a raise of $4,600. After about a year, Black developed a limp. When he consulted a doctor, he was informed that he had multiple sclerosis. After his diagnosis, he informed his firm and requested that the firm meet with his doctors to determine what measures could be taken to accommodate his condition. One partner had one brief meeting with one doctor, who suggested the firm limit the amount of walking that Black was required to do. The firm made no effort to limit Black’s walking, to move his office, or to rearrange his job. Instead, the firm assigned additional duties to him and urged him to cancel his vacation. On one occasion, a partner told him to go home if he was tired, so he would not wear himself out and become ineffective.
In January 1994, Black was terminated because his condition affected his performance and the firm claimed that his thinking was “not as crisp as it needed it to be.” After he was terminated, Black applied for and was granted disability benefits under the firm’s insurance policy, stating that he was “unable to work long hours in a stressful job” and ”needed a flexible work schedule.” He then worked as a consultant and enrolled in a graduate program at a local university. Black brought a lawsuit against the firm under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The firm argued that Black was precluded from bringing suit because he accepted disability benefits. Explain how the Court should rule on Black’s claim. Determine whether Black has made a case under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Assess whether Black can pursue an ADA claim notwithstanding accepting disability benefits. (Points : 35)