ABC Advertising Case Study Analysis
Make sure you answer all parts of each question and provide a detailed legal analysis of your answer. Clearly state the applicable law (ie. statutes such as Title VII and/or cases such as Griggs v. Duke Power) and any assumptions.
A. Ms. Riyadh is employed as an account executive with ABC Advertising (“ABC”). ABC is a national marketing and advertising firm specializing in domestic and international advertising. ABC has its corporate headquarters in this state and represents many major public and private corporations throughout the United States. Ms. Riyadh began working with ABC as a summer intern during her senior year in business school, and was hired as a full-time employee after receiving her M.B.A., with honors, from the University of Michigan in 1978. Ms. Riyadh has been employed with ABC at its office in the state capital since 1978. During her employment, she has won three national awards for her work.
For several reasons, Ms. Riyadh believes ABC has illegally discriminated against her and she now wants to sue the company. She says the company’s practice has been to promote employees from within. Ms. Riyadh states that despite receiving “outstanding” performance evaluation ratings each year she has worked there, she has never been promoted since she was hired and has been repeatedly passed over for any promotions.
She also says that all of the male employees who were hired between 1978 and 1988 in the same classification as hers have been promoted from one to four times and earn significantly higher salaries. In addition, none of these employees has won any national awards, and a few of these individuals are marginal employees. She notes that three women have been promoted since she was hired, but points out that men greatly outnumber women in all positions at ABC.
ABC responded to a preliminary inquiry by asserting that Ms. Riyadh was not promoted because she doesn’t “fit the image” that is right for the higher positions. ABC claims the higher positions have high visibility, require extensive travel, and have greatly increased client contact, including presentations before corporate and professional groups. ABC argues that Ms. Riyadh is a very plain woman, that she refuses to wear makeup or adornments of any kind, other than a head scarf, that she is very religious and takes a daily “prayer and meditation” break during her lunch break, and that her religious beliefs prohibit certain types of “fraternizing,” such as drinking alcoholic beverages and eating certain foods. ABC officials state that while Ms. Riyadh is a good employee, they do not believe she is “qualified” to represent ABC in certain capacities. ABC argues that in the advertising field, it is essential that higher “administrative” employees project a polished appearance and engage in social and fraternal activities in order to obtain and conduct business.
Ms. Riyadh states that ABC is discriminating against her. She argues that these factors are not relevant to her ability to perform in any of the higher positions, and that ABC is simply using other rationales as a ploy to justify discriminating against her. She further states that when ABC hired her, she was advised that if she did a good job, she could expect to be promoted to the position of account vice-president within two years.
Ms. Riyadh seeks damages for lost wages and benefits. She also wants a court order directing ABC to promote her to a higher position. Analyze Ms. Riyadh’s case. Identify all potential claims and any defenses available to ABC.
B. ANSWER 5 OF THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS
Make sure you clearly state the applicable law
1. Unified Postal Services (UPS) is a private corporation which provides mail services to the public. UPS has been sued by a class made up of all deaf employees. These employees claim to have been discriminated against based on their disability. UPS provided training to all employees on security and safety in handling mail, including packages. The training included several videos on Anthrax, after several workers were injured by packages containing the lethal substance. The deaf workers claim that UPS never provided interpreters or videos with subtitles. UPS claimed that it did not have to provide accommodation to the workers because they were able to view the videos and watch the demonstrations on handling packages. The company claims that the workers are not disabled for the purposes of handling packages. Will the employees win the case?
2. Bob Smith, a member of the electrical workers’ union employed at Saturn Company, had a history of tardiness and absenteeism. One morning, he had car problems which delayed his arrival at work. When he finally arrived at work, Bob was told that he was fired. The union filed a grievance on Bob’s behalf, objecting to the discharge. In accordance with the collective bargaining agreement, an arbitration hearing was held. The arbitrator, after weighing testimony and evidence, ordered Bob reinstated with back pay. The arbitrator found that Saturn had not properly and objectively investigated Bob’s car problems and therefore did not have just cause to fire him. Saturn refused to reinstate Bob in compliance with the arbitrator’s award. Bob and the union petitioned the U.S. District Court to enforce the arbitrator’s award. Saturn petitioned the court to overturn the arbitrator’s decision, claiming that, based on the evidence; the dismissal was unquestionably for just cause under the labor agreement. Should the court grant Saturn’s request and overrule the arbitrator? Explain your answer.
3. Martha has applied for a job as a stock clerk, at Good Food Supermarket. During her interview, she reveals to the interviewer that at some point in the next ten months she will need to undergo surgery to remove a tumor in one of her vertebrae, and that even if the surgery is successful, her post-operative range of movement could be severely limited. The job requires a good deal of lifting and a wide range of movement, in order to place goods on the shelves. The interviewer decides not to hire Martha because she may not be able to perform the job after the surgery. Martha files a claim against Good Food Supermarket. Does she have a valid claim? Explain your answer.
4. Muhammad, an Arab-American high school student, had a job after school in a fast-food restaurant, Eddy’s BBQ. A few co-workers started asking him why his “cousins” bombed the World Trade Center. Muhammed ignored their taunts. Then a manager began to add comments such as, “Hey, Muhammed, we’re going to have to check you for bombs.” Muhammed felt humiliated and angry. Soon after, he was terminated for accidentally throwing away a paper cup that the manager was using. Muhammed suspects that his religious and ethnic background was the reason he was fired. Muhammed has filed a claim with the EEOC. What will be the result in this case?
5. Patsy is a waitress at Tom’s Irish Pub. She complains to her boss, Tom, that Simon, a frequent patron of the restaurant, has been making comments to her with sexual innuendos. Patsy details Simon’s activities to Tom, and requests that Simon be asked to stop. She also requests that another waitress be assigned to Simon’s table. Tom, the restaurant owner, says he will look into the matter. Tom is afraid to upset Simon, who is one of the restaurant’s best customers. Tom puts the matter off for a few weeks. When he finally gets around to dealing with Simon, he politely asks Simon if he can “…go a little easier on Patsy.” Tom ignores Patsy’s request to be relieved of any obligation to wait on Simon. Does Patsy have a claim against Tom’s Irish Pub? Explain your answer.
6. Paul Jones was an operations manager at the Wallsbury Company. His employment status was that of an employee at will. Jones received certain email messages at home, and he replied to his supervisor by email. His email messages contained some provocative language, including a reference to “kill the backstabbing jerks” and a reference to the “Jim Jones Koolaid affair”. Later Jones was given 2 weeks’ notice of his termination and he was told that his email remarks were inappropriate and unprofessional. Jones believes he is a victim of invasion of privacy because the email messages caused his termination and the company had promised that email communication would not be intercepted and used as a basis for discipline or discharge. The company denies that it intercepted the email messages and points out that Jones himself send the unprofessional comments to his supervisor. Who should win the case – Jones or Wallsbury Company? Why?
7. Dr. C. Brown, was an employee of Mars Pharmaceutical Products Inc. and was severely injured and hospitalized when a vat used in the production of AAXXN, an anesthetic ingredient, overflowed, spraying toxic chemicals into the immediate area. Brown, an employee with 20 years’ experience was tending the vat at the time of the overflow. OSHA inspector James Johnson was dispatched to investigate the incident. Johnson spoke with some employees who helped wash down Brown. A fellow employee who saw Brown after the accident told Johnson that Brown was “covered from head to toe with chemical, including his head and mouth.” Brown’s supervisor told Johnson that it was “company policy” that the vat operator wear a respirator, chemical goggles, and gloves. Although no one testified as to exactly what type of protective gear that Brown was wearing, the OSHRC found Mars in violation of a specific regulation that compels an employer to make sure that an employee engaged in an operation like Brown’s is wearing full-body protective gear, including boots, chemical retardant clothes, a full face shield and a self-contained breathing apparatus.
Mars appealed this decision to the court of appeals, claiming that there was not enough evidence to support a citation for a violation of the chemical clothing requirements as no one testified exactly as to what Brown was wearing. What factors should the court consider when deciding whether to enforce or vacate an OSHRC decision? Should the court set aside this OSHRC decision? Why or why not?
8. Sam has been turned down for a job as an ambulance driver because he is age 65. The rationale is that most individuals his age have certain health related characteristics that legitimately exclude them from effective service as ambulance drivers. Sam was never individually evaluated to determine whether he possessed the disqualifying characteristics. Does Sam have a claim against the hiring company? Explain why or why not.
9. A video camera aimed at the factory floor where U.S. Postage stamps are printed records what appears to be Murray, a line employee, stealing sheets of stamps from the production line. Based on the tape, factory officials search Murray’s locker and find the stolen stamps. Murray challenges the search as unconstitutional. Is the search legal? Why or why not?
10. Bob Cash is the manager of People First Bank (“People First”). One day, Bob received a call from one of the bank’s largest customers – Million Dollar Construction (“Million Dollar”). The CEO at Million Dollar asked Bob to send an account representative from the bank to discuss some new loans for Million Dollar. This is a very important customer and Bob wants to make sure he does everything to satisfy their business needs. Bob sends his top-performing account representative, Joe, to meet with the CEO. Shortly thereafter, Bob receives an angry phone call from the CEO, who claims he does not do business with anyone who is not Caucasian, and Bob should not have sent Joe, who is African-American, to meet with him. Since this customer is worth millions of dollars to the bank, Bob sends another representative, James, who is Caucasian, to meet with the CEO. James is able to extend several large loans to Million Dollar and receives a large commission. Joe sues People First because he did not receive the commission. Evaluate Joe’s claim and discuss any damages that he may receive as a result of his claim.
Ms. Riyadh seeks damages for lost wages and benefits. She also wants a court order directing ABC to promote her to a higher position. Analyze Ms. Riyadh’s case. Identify all potential claims and any defenses available to ABC
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) is the statute that would apply in this case. It would be difficult for the company to justify not promoting Ms. Riyadh to any senior position because of her excellent track record at the company and the fact that many less proficient workers have been promoted. The statute provides protections for religious workers who cannot be discriminated against because of their attire, beliefs, and practices as long as these practices don’t cause undue hardship for the company. Some of the assertions made by the company regarding fraternizing and eating certain foods as well as Ms. Riyadh’s physical “plain” appearance appear to be discriminatory in nature against her modest religious beliefs. In any event, they would not impact her performance in her role as an executive at the company, and therefore, I believe that the company would lose a lawsuit because of the fact that they didn’t attempt to accommodate Ms. Riyadh and offer her some other less visible position as an executive at the company despite her years of above average service.
The defense that the company will attempt will rest upon the “Religious Discrimination & Reasonable Accommodation & Undue Hardship” defense. If a company can prove that promoting or hiring a worker will cause undue financial hardship to the company, they have the autonomy to not promote or hire the worker. The allegations that her attire and demeanor would decrease efficiency for the vital requirements of soliciting clientele and cause the company to lose money if she were hired in the capacity that she is seeking could enable the company to win in court. It would be an uphill battle though because they did not attempt to accommodate Ms. Riyadh in some other higher-level position at the company.
1. Unified Postal Services (UPS) is a private corporation which provides mail services to the public. UPS has been sued by a class made up of all deaf …