Second it will discuss the definition of Constructive Discharge and its relevance to this claim. Third it will provide the specific areas under the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Fourth it will offer recommendations and supporting legal references. Fifth it will recommend proactive steps to avoid future legal issues in relationship to the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. And finally any references used in this research will be provided. A. Definition of Constructive DischargeSummary of Claim and history:In January 1, 2013 a new policy was implemented to support exponential company growth.
This policy impacted all production employees. The impacted employees were notified of the changes two months in advance of the January 2013 implementation to allow for assimilation and training on the new shifts schedules and there impacts. Production employee schedules were shifted from a Monday through Friday schedule, 8 hour shift to a Monday through Sunday schedule, 12 hour shift, four working days can occur any day of the week.
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This schedule requires all production employees to work on holy days regardless of religious affiliation as the production now runs seven days a week.
Office staff members were not impacted by this policy change. AA23 quit on January 2, 2013 after new policy was in effect. There was no reason given in the resignation as to why AA23 was resigning or that it was related to having to work on holy days. AA23 filed a Claim #1-2013 with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on February 3, 2013. Toy Company was notified via our legal department on March 10, 2013. Constructive discharge is when an employee resigns from their job because the employer makes conditions so bad or lets bad conditions continue; that a reasonable employee would also have resigned in the same conditions.
If proven it is treated as an unlawful firing. There are rules that an employee must follow in order to make a claim of constrictive discharge. First they must provide written notification of the cause of their resignation. The employer than has 15 days to provide a written response to the allegations. This type of claim is very difficult to prove; especially in Washington state which is an “At Will” state. “At Will” means that the either the employee or the employer is free to sever a working relationship for any reason; as long as the separation was not due to discrimination.
Or there was a contract in place that overrides the “At Will” mandate. There are two main considerations when working with a constructive discharge claim. The first is regarding whether other production employees felt compelled to resign. The second is whether Toy Company’s intent was to force AA23’s resignation with the new production work schedule (Finnegan, 2013). The following assumptions are being made at this time: 1) there haven’t been any other resignations reported that are related to this issue. 2) The documented intent of the schedule change was created to address increased demand not to create religious discrimination. ) The claimant filed the claim with EEOC. 4) The claimant didn’t follow the company procedures to report and resolve issues. B. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (relevant areas)Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was created to address the civil rights conflicts that were occurring during this 1960’s. It is considered one of the most important pieces of legislation related to Civil Rights. This act was setup to address discrimination of protected classes (e. g. African Americans, Asian, Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and women).
The part of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that applies to employment decisions; mandates that employment decisions not be based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin (Gmoez-Mejia & Cardy, 2013). ” Discrimination is about the making of distinctions; in the context of human resources, it is about the making of distinctions among people. There are two type of discrimination. Disparate treatment is when an employee is treated differently because of his protected status. Adverse impact is when the same standard is applied across the board; however it impacts a protected class more (Gmoez-Mejia & Cardy, 2013).
In the case of #1-2013 adverse impact could apply to the shift changes that were implemented in January 2013. As the shift changes applied to all production employees. This could be construed as unintentional discrimination. However we haven’t had any other complaints to date. The company must reasonably accommodate religious beliefs or practices; unless it creates undue hardship (e. g. costly, compromises workplace safety, decreases workplace efficiency, infringes on the rights of other employees, or requires other employees to do more than their share of potentially hazardous or burdensome work).
There are several ways to make accommodations (e. g. flexible scheduling, voluntary shift substitutions or swaps, job reassignments, and modifications to workplace policies or practices) (Religious Discrimination, 2013). C. Recommendations for Toy Company response. The facts before us are that Toy Company provided information on the new schedule several months before it was implemented. AA23 or any other employee didn’t inform Toy Company of any issues with the new schedule before the implementation at the beginning of 2013.
When AA23 resigned AA23 did not document the reason for the resignation as due to scheduling impacts impacting religious beliefs either in writing or in person to the appropriate Human Resources personnel. Since this schedule change impacted all production employees it clearly was not created to personally force AA23 to resign. The EEOC will likely find in favor of the company and not send the case to trial. However it is in our best interest to work with AA23 and try to resolve this case through conciliation. This will require us to enter mediation with the EEOC, AA23, and company representatives.
C1. Three legal references that support recommendations 1. In Liebermann V. Genesis Health Care – Franklin Woods Center (2012), Grace Liebermann worked at Genesis Health Care. Ms. Liebermann started working there in August of 2010. Ms. Liebermann constantly stated that she Jewish and needed to leave early on Fridays. Genesis agreed with the understanding that she would work a full 40 hours a week. Almost immediately her schedule became an issue. She repeatedly emailed her supervisor to leave earlier and earlier on each Friday. Each time attributing to her daycare’s adherence to the Sabbath.
The court ruled in favor of the defendant; due to the fact that her issue was due to daycare requirements not religious requirements. This supports our claim because AA23 has not previously stated any issues due to religious observances. 2. In Pennsylvania State Police V. Suders (2004), a formal complaint was filed by Suders citing that she was subjective to sexual harassment by her supervisors. Suders’ hostile work environment claim was untenableas a matter of law, the District Court stated, because she “unreasonably failed to avail herself of the PSP’s internal procedures for reporting any harassment. …Resigning just two days after she first mentioned anything about harassment to Equal Employment Opportunity Officer Smith-Elliott, the court noted, Suders had “never given [the PSP] the opportunity to respond to [her] complaints. ” Ibid (Pennsylvania State Police V. Suders, 2004). As with our claim Suders never notified the State Police of the sexual harassment issues by utilizing the available internal grievance procedure provided by her employer. This supports our claim because AA23 has not previously stated any issues due to religious observances.
It also supports our position that this is not a constructive discharge case because As with Suder and the PSP, Toy story didn’t specifically single out AA23 with the new schedule policy to force her to quit and no other employees have complained let alone quit. 1. In Johnson V. Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13 (2012), Barbara Johnson brought charges of disability discrimination and hostile work environment. Johnson had epilepsy and was asked to provide additional information from her neurologist to ensure that she would be able to manage volatile situations in here classroom.
After she was not able to provide that information an additional meeting was setup to discuss the schools concerns over this issue. The plaintiff choose to resign and treat it as a constructive discharge. The defendant requested a summary judgment which was granted due to insufficient support for her claims with the court determining that just because she was uncomfortable and was being asked to provide more information than other employees it did not mean she was constructively discharged.
AA23 may have felt uncomfortable with the new schedule and may have even felt harassed; but AA23 didn’t follow internal procedures to report her concerns. A reasonable person would not have expected that a change in the work schedule for the whole production area was created to force AA23’s or anyone’s resignation. C2. Recommend steps to avoid future legal issues around Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 1. Review internal grievance policies and procedures. i. Ensure that all complaints are put into writing ii. Ensure that all complaints are responded to with 48 hours.
Either to start an investigation or to provide a response. iii. Provide anonymous reporting phone number 2. Train all managers and supervisors on internal grievance polies and procedures. 3. Post grievance polies and procedures all general work areas and online on Toy Company internal employee site. 4. When considering schedule or other changes include make sure decisions are informed through the lens of the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and other appropriate acts. Include HR personal in these discussions to ensure compliance with laws. D. ReferencesFinnegan, S. 2013). Constructive Dishcarge Under Tittl VII and the ADEA. The University of Chicago Law Review, 561-562. Grace Liebermann V. Genesis Health Care – Franklin Woods Center, CCB-11-2770 (District Court of Maryland 2013). Johnson V. Lacaster-Lebabib Intermediate Unit 13, 11-cv-01598 (District Court for the Eastren District of Pennsyvania 2012). Pennsylvania State Police V. Suders, 542 US 129 (Supreme Court 2004). Religious Discrimination. (2013, 03 24). Retrieved from U. S. Equal EMployment Opportunity Commision: http://www. eeoc. gov/laws/types/religion. cfm | | |