1. (TCO A) 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. (Points : 30)

2. (TCO B) Denora Sarin, a Cambodian immigrant and a practicing Buddhist, was employed as a systems engineer with Raytheon Company. Shortly after Sarin was assigned to work on a particular project, Goldberg, one of the workers, approached and taunted Sarin saying, “What’s Buddhism? What kind of Buddha do you worship: the skinny Buddha or the fat one?” Sarin also claimed to be physically harassed by another employee, but after Sarin reported the conduct to his supervisor, it was not repeated.

Goldberg continued to mock Sarin’s religion on several occasions, and when Sarin later asked him to perform certain work, Goldberg shouted at him, “You’re not my boss. You have no right to tell me what to do. You don’t know me very well. I can do a lot of things that you cannot imagine.” Goldberg also told Sarin that he (Sarin) came to the U.S. to destroy and ruin the system of this country.

Sarin again reported the conduct to Goldberg’s supervisor. Sarin was extremely disturbed by the incident and took the rest of the day off. When he returned to work the next day, Goldberg had been transferred to a different work area. Goldberg was subjected to a discipline hearing because of Sarin’s complaints. Goldberg denied Sarin’s allegations, and there were no other witnesses of the incidents. No discipline was imposed on Goldberg, but he was warned he would be severely disciplined if he harassed Sarin in the future.

Sarin continued to experience anxiety attacks, and suffered chest pains; he denied the company’s offer to change shifts because the night shift would still overlap with that of Goldberg. On the recommendation of his doctor, Sarin resigned from his job. Sarin then filed a complaint with the state EEO agency and with the EEOC, and later filed suit against Raytheon under Title VII. Identify the possible claims under Title VII discrimination available to Sarin and assess the likelihood of prevailing under the claims. Determine whether Raytheon should be held in violation of Title VII. (Points : 30)

 

TCO E) An ambulance service transports disabled individuals on a non-emergency basis. Jane was hired as a night dispatcher. She worked at home, and was required to be on duty to take calls for service from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m., Monday through Thursday, and from 9:00 p.m. Friday to 7:00 a.m. on Monday. She was paid $550 per month. She was not given any special training, she was simply instructed how to fill in record sheets, and how to call the ambulance crew to notify them of the service request. Jane was free to engage in personal business as long as it did not interfere with the calls, and was able to leave her home as long as she made sure that someone was available to answer the phone.

The ambulance company claimed that Jane was an independent contractor and was exempt from the FLSA’s overtime and wage requirements. Jane filed suit to collect overtime and minimum wage back pay under the FLSA. Determine whether she will succeed. If you determine that she will succeed, explain the remedies available. Break down the elements of your response using applicable case law and statutory support for your position. (Points : 30)

 

(TCO F) Retirees were employed by White Farms while the company was an affiliate of the White Motor Corporation. The dispute concerned the White Motor Corporation Insurance Plan for Salaried Employees, a non-funded, noncontributory benefit plan that provided life, health, and welfare insurance, prescription drugs, hearing aid benefits, and dental care to retirees and their eligible dependents. White Motor employees periodically received booklets describing their benefits under these plans.

The 1980 booklet described insurance provided and carried the explicit disclaimer that it was “not the contract of insurance.” The booklet differentiated between different categories of salaried employees and appeared to have been prepared for distribution to both active and retired employees.

The 1985 booklet was addressed specifically to retired employees. Much of the information in the booklet made no distinction between the Welfare Benefit Plan and the Pension Plan, and its summary of an alleged cancellation clause referred to both plans.

“The Company fully intends to continue your plans indefinitely. However, the Company does reserve the right to change the Plans, and, if necessary, to discontinue them. If it is necessary to discontinue the Pension Plan, the assets of the Pension Fund will be used to provide benefits according to the Plan document.”

No similar clause appeared in the 1980booklet.

While the company was undergoing court supervised reorganization under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code, it decided to discontinue its noncontributory insurance coverage for its retired employees.

On the basis of the facts presented, assess whether the company is free to discontinue its noncontributory insurance coverage for its retired employees. Explain your conclusion and use applicable law to support your response. (Points : 30)

 

TCO G) After noticing some items stolen from the store, a manager asked an employee, Frank, to take a polygraph test. Frank refused, claiming that he did not steal anything. Frank also reminded Jeff that he did not have access to the area where the stollen items were kept. Jeff fired Frank because he refused to take the polygraph test. Frank intends to file suit. Determine how the suit would be filed. Set forth the legal basis for the suit. Assess the likelihood that Frank will prevail in the suit. Include applicable law in your analysis. (Points : 35)

 

 (TCO H) 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. (Points : 35)

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