Constructive Discharge

1 January 2017

Title VII was modified in 2000 to include that one cannot discriminate one who associates with said such protected class member, ex. interracial marriage (Dempsey & Petshce, 2006). Given the current situation Title VII applies to this case. The employee has proved that they are indeed a member of a protected class, in this case religion. As a company we have a duty to respect and accommodate the employee who notifies us of a religious accommodation. We must accommodate the employee within reason as to no discriminate or hinder their religious practices.

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Constructive Discharge Within Title VII there is an element called ‘constructive discharge’. Constructive discharge is a recourse for employees to use under Title VII. It allows the employee to “quit” his or her job due to intolerable conditions, which any reasonable person would be forced to “quit” the employment position. In other words the employee uses constructive discharge to convince the court that his or her act of quitting is one in the same as the employer discharging the employee (Dempsey & Petsche, 2006).

In this case the employee is attempting to convince the court that he was forced to quit due to an intolerable condition. He states he was not able to practice his religion with the new work schedule policy.

The employee under Title VII has a legal precedence to which the employer is require to make a reasonable accommodation to allow the employee to practice his religious belief (Dempsey & Petsche, 2006). Recommended Response to Employee’s Allegations The ABC Toy Company has many options in responding to this employee’s allegation against us. Here are four recommendations that may prevent any further litigation.

When an allegation of discrimination occurs the employee must pass the McDonnell Douglas test, which states, “a plaintiff must first demonstrate a prima facie case of discrimination. ” Prima facie has four parts 1) the employee is a part of protected class, religion in this case. 2) The employee is qualified for the position, which he is. 3) The employee must show he/she was subject to adverse employment action, which he was not. 4) The employer treated similarly situated employees not in the protected class more favorably, which ABC Toy Company did not.

All employees where subject to the same new work schedule regardless of their protected class. Given the McDonnell Douglas test the employee is not able to demonstrate prima facie. The employee did not inform the ABC Toy Company of his religious needs. According to Chrysler Corp. v. Mann (1977) “an employee who is disinterested in informing his employer of his religious needs may forego the right to have his beliefs accommodated by his employer”. The employee made his religious needs known to ABC Toy Company after he quit.

The ABC Company cannot be held liable when the employee informed the company after his discharge. A similar ruling was made in the case between Cary v. Carmichael (1995), which concluded “employer not liable for disciplining employee… when employee failed – until after his discharge – to explain that tardiness was because he attended a prayer service”. Even though tardiness was used in the Cary v. Carmichael case the context of the ruling stand, that the employer is not held liable for a Title VII violation if the employer was not informed of the religious accommodation.

In the case between Perry v.Harris Chemin, Inc. (1997) the court ruled, “an employee who quits without giving his employer a reasonable chance to work out a problem has not been constructively discharged. ” If the employee had informed ABC Toy Company about his religious needs there would have been a reasonable accommodation. This accommodation would have come from a schedule change with another employee or a lateral transfer to accommodate the employee’s religious needs. Future Recommendations It is recommended that The ABC Toy Company review Title VII of the Civil Rights Act before making policy changes that may affect a protected class.

When policy changes are made supervisors and managers should be educated on meeting the needs of protected class members. It is also recommended that before policies are implemented that employees are informed of their rights and allow a period of time where employees have an opportunity to present any conflicts in regards to their protected class (Gomez-Mejia, Balkin & Cardy, 2007). It is also recommended that in order to protect the company from future violations of Title VII it is to develop a diversity-training program and hold routine diversity audits.

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