1. (TCO A) Nix has worked for ABC, Inc. for ten years. During the entire period of Nix’s employment, his performance had never been formally evaluated or criticized; he was never denied a raise or bonus. The company was doing extremely well, constantly hiring new employees. During the busiest time of the year, Nix told his boss that he had jury duty. Nix attended jury duty. Nix was terminated for refusing to decline to appear for jury duty. Even though the term of Nix’s employment is not specified by contract, does Nix have a cause of action against his employer arising out of the termination? Identify and analyze the possible causes of action available to Nix and the likelihood of prevailing in the litigation. Utilize applicable law to support your conclusions. (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? I want to fight you. You don’t fight me back.” Sarin also claimed to be physically harassed by another employee, but after Sarin reported the conduct to his supervisor, it was not repeated.
3. (TCO C) Matt worked for CTE as a management analyst. Matt suffered a heart attack and took medical leave from his job. Prior to the heart attack, his supervisor opened his locked drawer at work and found prescription drugs that were not prescribed to Matt. The supervisor thought Matt had been acting a bit strangely but decided he would confront him about it later. The supervisor did not confront Matt before the heart attack.
After six months, Matt was able to return to work on a part-time basis. Matt worked reduced hours for the next year. CTE was forced to reduce its workforce to cut costs. CTE conducted a performance appraisal of all managerial employees and discharged those with the lowest performance ratings. Matt, because of his part-time status, had one of the lowest performance ratings. The company did not look at performance pro-rata based on hours worked. Matt sued and alleged that he was wrongfully terminated in violation of the ADA. Matt alleged that his termination was a result of his disability. Identify and analyze the potential claims and defenses. Utilize case law to support your responses and conclusions.
4. (TCO D) A wrecking and heavy moving firm was moving a barn. As the barn was being towed across a field, it came close to three 7,200 volt power lines. A ball of fire was observed where the barn’s lighting rod either came to close to or actually touched, one of the power lines. Two employees were electrocuted and three more were injured. Analyzing the fact pattern, determine whether the company violated OSHA’s general duty clause, or was this merely an unfortunate accident? Assuming that passing close to the wires was unavoidable, identify the steps that the company might have taken to avoid the tragedy. (Points: 30)
5. (TCO E) Jerry Swanson owned Swanson Custom Cabinets. He works exclusively for Custom Kitchen Designs, Inc., building all of the cabinets for their clients. Mr. Swanson was injured on the job and filed a worker’s compensation claim which listed Custom Kitchen Designs as his employer. Based upon the foregoing, will Mr. Swanson be deemed an employee or an independent contractor? Analyze the fact pattern in conjunction with the legal factors that impact the employee versus independent contractor determination. Determine and explain the implications of this determination on Mr. Swanson’s worker’s compensation claim. Incorporate applicable law as you analyze and interpret the scenario in conjunction with the legal elements of the claims.
6. (TCO F) The 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.
7. (TCO G) Gomez, the hiring manager at a Sizzler restaurant in Arizona, extended an offer to Rodriquez after having a long-distance telephone conversation with him while Rodriquez was in California working for a Sizzler restaurant there. On Rodriquez’s arrival, Gomez asked to see evidence of Rodriquez’s authorization to work in the United States. Rodriquez offered a driver’s license and what looked like a Social Security card. Gomez did not look at the back of the card nor compare it to the example in the Immigration and Naturalization handbook. In fact, Rodriquez’s card was a forgery, and the INS has assessed a fine against Sizzler restaurant, claiming that Gomez knew or should have known that the card was false. Determine whether Sizzler is liable under the IRCA. Identify and integrate applicable law and statutory authority to provide validity for your response. (Points: 30)
8. (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 have 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: 30)
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