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Discrimination, Jobs and Politics, Case Study Example

Pages: 5

Words: 1244

Case Study

Terry is an individual who was hired as an assistant manager by the firm Assurance Manufacturing Company. During the time he was hired, there was no specific time period was given regarding Terry’s employment with the company. Terry was given a copy of the employee’s handbook during his first day at work; this was given to him by the personnel director of the company. Terry noted that the handbook stated that the company would not terminate an employee without a justifiable explanation. It was only five months after being employed at the company that Terry was notified that there would be no further job for terry at assurance. Terry asked about his termination and the grounds for it, the personnel director then told him that “Under state law no reason for termination has to be given.  In essence you are an employee only for as long as Assurance desires”.

The major issue which can be seen in the situation is Liability on the part of the employee. This is because Terry’s “at-will” employment can be argued with the statement in the handbook given that no employee shall be terminated without a justifiable reason. The liability is with the company Assurance Manufacturing Company. However, it can be argued that during his time of employment, no terms were given to terry regarding the time period he was to be employed with the company, this coincides with the statement of the personnel director of the company when he stated that “you are an employee only for as long as Assurance desires”. Although, his statement previous that statement which was “Under state law no reason for termination has to be given” is not necessarily applicable given the situation.

The employee can be seen to breach the codes which are set by the company itself. The employee handbook stated a written agreement that the company cannot and will not terminate any employee with no justifiable reason whatsoever. However, the justifiable reason could be that the company had “no longer a position” for Terry; the provision of any further explanation could be arguable and the prerogative of the employee. The personnel director, however, is seen to contradict himself in saying that there are no deferral laws which state that reason for termination will be given. This statement is correct, however it is limited by the employee handbook, and any form of verbal agreement which may have been said on the day of employment.

A case similar to that of Terry’s was seen in the United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit involving the Plaintiff Thom Defranco and the Defendant Storage Technology Corporation (Find Law). The case of Defranco v. Storage Technology was about the At-Will employment of Defranco. Upon employment, it was verbally agreed upon that the job being given to Defranco was “permanent”. However, after he returned from an overseas-job-assignment, he was let go from his job because he had completed his assignment. The court was in favor of Defranco because his terms of being an At-Will employee was seen as limited due to the verbal agreement made on the day of employment. Storage Technology was then liable for breach of contract.

Terry’s At-Will-Employment was limited by the statement in the employee handbook that ensures employees that “no employee would be terminated without a justifiable explanation”. Employees are seen to be limited in their hiring of At-Will-Employees with the contracts and the rules they apply to employment (Walter). To be able to avoid risks of liability, the employee should have better stated their rules on hiring and termination regarding time periods and releasing of an employee even without a contract.

Jennings Company is a company which manufactures products such as sophisticated electronic equipment. Before hiring assembly employees to work, each applicant is to take a score and the recruitment is based on the applicants’ scores on a standardized mathematics test. Those who have a higher score on the test are shown to perform better on the job, thus this is the basis of their hiring practices. However, it has been argued that this standard of hiring practices has posed as discrimination in its nature of excluding African American minorities and other groups.

The issues in the case is that the tests being administered for hiring practices raises issues of discrimination which disproportionately affects African Americans and other minorities. It does not state, however the other bases for employment such as educational attainment or experience. Because of this lack of information, it is assumed that there are no other bases for employment in Jennings Company for assembly employees. Even though the company claims that their tests are the only bases for employment, this affects the demographics of those who are employed, and this can be seen as highly discriminatory.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 states that any form of discrimination against blacks, women and other types of racial segregation in the school, workplace and facilities served by the general population should be outlawed (Burstein). However, the act does state that this does not eliminate any type of literacy test which is a way of excluding Black voters at that time. Employers are allowed to give a number of tests before hiring an employees, this is standard of procedure in human resource management. Tests can be seen as those administered which are in relation to cognitive skills, physical abilities, sample jobs, personality tests, criminal background checks, etc. However,  if the tests being administered pose as a discrimination against a certain racial or ethnic group, or if it unequally discriminates against women, the company might be held liable for discrimination under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The act in Title VII permits employee tests as long as they are not designed to intentionally discriminate against race, color, religion, national origin, etc. Employers are also not permitted to adjust scores, use a different method of cut-off, or alter the results of employment-related tests because of race, color, religion, national origin, etc.

In a case which involved the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Ford Motor Company was involved in a court-approved settlement on behalf of a nationwide class of African Americans who were rejected for apprenticeship programs after taking cognitive exams (The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). The exams included cognitive measured verbal, numerical and spatial reasoning. This was the bases of their hiring. It was brought to the attention of Ford Motor Company that their tests were discriminatory against African Americans and it was stated that Ford should come up with less discriminatory procedures of employment. However, Ford did not modify its procedures. The court ruled in favor of EEOC and Ford Motor Company paid $8.55 million in monetary relief to those affected.

Jennings Company should review their tests for hiring, and if it is found that it is discriminatory to African Americans and other minority groups, even without having the intention of exclusion, the tests should be modified. If it is found that there are any evidences of bias or discrimination, the company will be liable for discrimination and will be found violating the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Works Cited

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (n.d.) Employment Tests and Selection Procedures. Retrieved from http://www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/factemployment_procedures.html

Burstein, Paul, Discrimination, Jobs and Politics: The Struggle for Equal Employment Opportunity in the United States since the New Deal, University of Chicago Press, 1985

DeFranco v. Storage Technology Corporation (2010). Case Law. Find Law. Retrieved from http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-10th-circuit/1541785.html

Walter, Robert J. (2002). Employee recruitment and retention: when company inducements trigger liability. All Business Articles. Retrieved from http://www.allbusiness.com/business-planning/business-structures-corporations/199299- 1.html

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