JDT2 Task 1

Topics: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Employment, Discrimination Pages: 7 (1672 words) Published: May 28, 2014
toy company
interoffice memorandum
to:
Ceo of toy company
from:
elementary division manager
subject:
review of constructive discharge allegations
date:
May 1, 2014
cc:
toy company attorney

A. Constructive Discharge as a Legal Concept
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees from workplace discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex and national origin. When an employer engages in practices that create a hostile work environment for any of these protected groups, making conditions so intolerable that an employee feels compelled to resign, it is known as constructive discharge Former employee Andy Anderson now alleges that our company engaged in religious discrimination when our production schedule changes went into effect at the first of the year. The changes required all production employees to occasionally work on a religious holy day, and Mr. Anderson has submitted a constructive discharge claim with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). According to an article in the University of Chicago Law Review, courts generally apply two tests when deciding if constructive discharge has occurred. The first is the reasonable person test, meaning that the working conditions are so intolerable that a reasonable person would conclude that resigning is the only recourse. The second is the specific intent test. The plaintiff must show that the employer “created those conditions with the specific intent to cause the employee to resign” (Finnegan, 1986). Mr. Anderson’s case is unlikely to pass either test. According to the production manager, no other employees have resigned or come forward with complaints about the new schedule. Also, the new schedule was implemented solely as a response to increased production demand. It was enforced across the board among all production staff. Meeting minutes and administrative emails prior to the scheduling change do not indicate any intent to make Mr. Anderson or any other religious employee resign. B. Religion as a Protected Category

Religion is one of the five categories originally offered protection by Title VII. The EEOC website states that the Civil Rights Act requires an employer to “reasonably accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs or practices, unless doing so would cause more than a minimal burden on the operations of the employer's business” (n.d.). It goes on to identify examples of reasonable accommodations such as flexible scheduling, allowing employees to trade shifts, and reassigning employees to other jobs. The production manager states that Mr. Anderson did not report this concern or ask for a religious accommodation, giving us no opportunity to work with him to find a satisfactory arrangement. However, this situation weakens his ability to pass the reasonable person test. A reasonable person in this circumstance would likely conclude that requesting a different schedule or a transfer to another department were options prior to resigning. C. Recommendation

Upon review of legal precedent and the company’s documented facts, our position is highly defensible. My recommendation is to engage in mediation, moving to litigation only if necessary. Successful mediation will provide tremendous time and money savings for the company. (Lieberman, A. 2012). Through mediation, Mr. Anderson will become aware of the weaknesses of his case and will be unlikely to move forward with litigation. Because of the strength of our position, we will not offer any compensation or back wages; however, we should consider a goodwill gesture of offering to reinstate him with reasonable accommodation for his religious observances. Such a move shows all employees that the company is genuinely committed to equal employment opportunity and that we are also committed to employee satisfaction. 1. Legal References in Support of Recommendation

Turner v. Anheuser-Busch, Inc.: In its review of this case, the California Supreme Court stipulated...

References: Beranbaum, J.A. (2008). Reconstructing constructive discharge in second circuit. Retrieved 5/23/2014 from http://www.bestlawyers.com/Downloads/Articles/2208_1.pdf
Civil Rights Act of 1964 § 7, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq (1964). Retrieved from http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/titlevii.cfm
Finnegan, S. (1986). Constructive discharge under title VII and the ADEA. The University of Chicago Law Review. Chicago: Spring, 53 (2), 561-580
Lieberman, A. (2012). Mediation success: Workplace conflict is best settled outside the courtroom. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOzGmxI4pW4&feature=youtu.be
Meckes, J. (1996). Turner v. Anheuser-Busch, Inc.: California Supreme Court provides employers with a more favorable constructive discharge standard. Golden Gate University Law Review. 26 (3). Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.law.ggu.edu/ggulrev/vol26/iss3/7
Schlueter, T. E., & Rollinson, T.N. (2012) Chicago police clerk’s religious bias claim fails. Society For Human Resource Management. Retrieved from http://www.shrm.org/legalissues/federalresources/pages/religious-bias-claim-fails.aspx
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (n.d.). Religious discrimination & reasonable accommodation. Retrieved from http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/religion.cfm
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