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82 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)
Passed by Congress in 1935 to handle the anti-union violence. Also known as the Wagner Act.
Purpose of the National Labor Relations Act:
1. Created the National Labor Relations Board to enforce labor Laws.
2. Prohibits employers from penalizing workers who engage in union activity (for example, joining a preexisting union or forming a new one.)
3. Requires employers to "bargain in good faith" with unions.
Family and Medical Leave Act
Passes by Congress in 1993, which guarantees both men and women up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year for childbirth, adoption, or medical emergencies for themselves or a family member.
Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA)
Provides that former employees must be allowed to continue their health insurance for 18 months after leaving their job.
Wrongful Discharge
Prohibits an employer from firing a worker for a bad reason.
Three categories of wrongful discharge claims:
1. Public Policy
2. Contract law
3. Tort Law
Public Policy
Prohibits an employer from firing a worker for a reason that violates basic social rights, duties or responsibilities.
Refusing to Violate the Law
As a general rule, employees may not be discharged for refusing to break the law.
Exercising a Legal Right
As a general rule, an employer may not discharge a worker for exercising a legal right if that right supports public policy.
Performing a Legal Duty
Courts have consistently held that an employee may not be fired for serving on a jury.
Employees who disclose illegal behavior on the part of their employer.
Whistle-blowers are protected in the following situations:
1. The False Claims Act
2. Constitutional Protection for Government Employees
3. Statutory Protection for Federal Employees
4. Employees of Publicly Traded Companies
5. State Statutes
6. Common Law
False Claim Act
permits anyone to bring suit against a "person" (including a company) who defrauds the government. The Act also prohibits employers from firing workers who file suit under the statute. A successful whistle-blower receives between 15 and 30 percent of any damages awarded to the government.
Truth in Hiring
Oral promises made during the hiring process can be enforceable, even if not approved by the company's top executives.
Employee Handbook
An employee handbook creates a contract.
Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing
Prohibits one party to a contract from interfering with the other's right to benefits under the contract. In some cases, courts will imply a covenant of good faith and fair dealing in an at-will employment relationship.
Employers may be liable for defamation when they give false and unfavorable references about a former employee. More than half of the states, however, recognize a qualified privilege for employers who give references about former employees.
Qualified Privilege:
Employers are liable only for false statements that they know to be false or that are primarily motivated by ill will.
Employers Obligations with references:
Generally, courts have held that employers do not have a legal obligation to disclose information about former employees. In some recent cases, however, courts have held that, when a former worker is potentially dangerous, employers do have an obligation to disclose this information.
Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress
Employers who condone cruel treatment of their workers face liability under the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA):
Passed by congress in 1970 to ensure safe working conditions.
Under OSHA:
1. Employers must comply with specific health and safety standards.
2. Employers are under a general obligation to keep their workplace "free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm" to employees.
3. Employers must keep records of all workplace injuries and accidents.
4. OSHA may inspect workplaces to ensure that they are safe.
5. OSHA may assess fines for violations and order employers to correct unsafe conditions.
Employee Privacy
1. Off-Duty Conduct: Employees have the right to lawful activities when off-duty.
2. Alcohol and Drug Testing: Most states permit employers to administer alcohol and drug tests.
3. Lie Detector Tests: Under the Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988, employers may not require or even suggest, that an employee or job candidate submit to a lie detector test, except as part of an "on-going investigation" into crimes that have occurred.
4. Electronic Monitoring of the Workplace (cyberLaw): The Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 (ECPA) permits employers to monitor workers' telephone calls and e-mail messages if:
1. The employee consents
2. The monitoring occurs in the ordinary course of business
3. In the case of e-mail, the employer provides the e-mail system. However bosses may not disclose any private information revealed by the monitoring.
Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA):
Passed in 1938, the Act regulates wages and limits child labor.
Minimum Wage:
The standard minimum wage set forth by the government.
Overtime Pay:
The FLSA does not limit the number of hours a week that an employee can work, but it does specify that workers must be paid time and a half for any hours over 40 in one week.
Child Labor:
FLSA prohibits "oppressive child labor," which means that children under 14 may work only in agriculture and entertainment. Fourteen and 15-year olds are permitted are permitted to work limited hours after school in nonhazardous jobs. Sixteen and 17 year olds may work unlimited hours in nonhazardous jobs.
Workers' Compensation:
Ensure that employees receive payment for injuries incurred at work.
Social Security:
Currently, the Social Security system pays benefits to workers who are retired, disabled, or temporarily unemployed and to the spouses and children of disabled or deceased workers.
Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA):
Part of the Social Security system that provides support to the unemployed.
Pension Benefits:
Passed in 1974, The Employee Retirement Income Security Act is set up to protect workers covered by private pension plans.
Equal Pay Act of 1963:
An employee may not be paid at a lesser rate than employees of the opposite sex for equal work.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964:
Prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin
Disparate Treatment:
To prove this case, the plaintiff must show that they were treated differently because of their sex, race, color, religion, or national origin.
Disparate Impact:
Becomes an issue if the employer has a rule that, on its face, is not discriminatory, but in practice excludes too many people in a protected group.
Employers must make reasonable accommodation for a worker's religious beliefs unless the request would cause undue hardship for the business.
Under Title VII, the defendant has three possible defenses:
1. Merit - A defendant is not liable if he shows that the person he favored was the most qualified.
2. Seniority - A legitimate seniority system is legal, even if it perpetuates past discrimination.
3. Bona fide Occupational Qualification - An employer is permitted to establish discriminatory job requirements if they are essential to the position in question.
Affirmative Action:
not required by Title VII, nor is it prohibited.
Affirmative Action programs have three different sources:
1. Litigation: Courts have the power under Title VII to order an affirmative action plan to remedy the effects of past discrimination.
2. Voluntary Action: Employers can voluntarily introduce an affirmative action plan to remedy the effects of past practices or to achieve equitable representation of minorities and women.
3. Government Contracts: Executive Order 11246 prohibits discrimination by federal contractors.
Sexual Harassment:
involves unwelcome sexual advances, request for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.
Two major categories of sexual harassment:
quid pro quo and hostile work environment.
Quid Pro Quo:
From a Latin phrase that means "this for that." quid pro quo harassment occurs if any aspect of a job is made contingent upon sexual activity.
Hostile Work Environment:
An employee has a valid claim of sexual harassment if sexual talk and innuendo are so pervasive that they interfere with her or his ability to work.
Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978:
An employer may not fire, refuse to hire, or fail to promote a woman because she is pregnant. An employer must also treat pregnancy as any other temporary disability.
Age Discrimination in employment Act (ADEA) of 1967:
Prohibits age discrimination against employees or job applicants who are at least 40 years old.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990:
Prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of disability. An employer may not disqualify an employee or job applicant because of disability as long as she can, with reasonable accommodation, perform the essential functions of the job. An accommodation is not reasonable if it would create undue hardship for the employer.
Disabled Person:
Someone with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity, or someone who is regarded as having such an impairment.
Hiring a Disabled Person:
An employer may not ask about disabilities before making a job offer. After a job offer has been made, an employer may require a medical test, but it must be related to the essential functions of the job. An employer may not discriminate against someone because of his relationship with a disabled person.
Chapter Conclusion:
Although managers sometimes feel overwhelmed by the long list of laws that protect workers, the United States guarantees it workers fewer rights than any other industrialized nation.
Chapter Review #1
The traditional common law rule of employment provided that an employee at will could be fired for a good reason, a bad reason, or no reason at all.
Chapter Review #2
The National Labor Relations Act prohibits employers from penalizing workers for union activity.
Chapter Review #3
The Family and Medical Leave Act guarantees workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year for childbirth, adoption, or medical emergencies for themselves or a family member.
Chapter Review #4
An employer who fires a worker for a bad reason is liable under a theory of wrongful discharge.
Chapter Review #5
Generally, an employee may not be fired for refusing to break the law, exercising a legal right, or performing a legal duty.
Chapter Review #6
Whistleblowers receive some protection under both federal and state laws.
Chapter Review #7
Oral promises made during the hiring process may be enforceable, even if not approved by the company's top executives. An employee handbook may create a contract
Chapter Review #8
Employers may be liable for defamation if they give false and unfavorable references.
Chapter Review #9
The goal of the Occupational Safety and Health Act is to ensure safe conditions in the workplace.
Chapter Review #10
Employees have a limited right to privacy in the workplace.
Chapter Review #11
The Fair Labor Standards Act regulates minimum and overtime wages. It also limits child labor.
Chapter Review #12
Workers' compensation statutes ensure that employees receive payment for injuries incurred at work.
Chapter Review #13
The Social Security system pays benefits to workers who are retired, disabled, or temporarily unemployed and to the spouses and children of disabled or deceased workers.
Chapter Review #14
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act regulates private pension plans
Chapter Review #15
Under the Equal Pay Act, an employee may not be paid at a lesser rate than employees of the opposite sex for equal work.
Chapter Review #16
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
Chapter Review #17
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act prohibits age discrimination against employees or job applicants who are age 40 or older.
Chapter Review #18
The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of disability
Practice Test #1
When Theodore Staats went to his company's “Council of Honor Convention,” he was accompanied by a woman who was not his wife although he told everyone she was. The company fired him. Staats alleged that his termination violated public policy because it infringed upon his freedom of association. He also alleged that he had been fired because he was too successful—his commissions were so high, he out-earned even the highest paid officer of the company. Has Staat's employer violated public policy?
Practice Test #2
This article appeared in The Wall Street Journal: When Michelle Lawrence discovered she was pregnant, she avoided telling Ron Rogers, the owner of the Los Angeles public relations agency where she worked as manager of media relations. “I had heard he wasn't crazy about pregnant women,” she says. Instead, she asked her immediate supervisor to pass along the news. Mr. Rogers didn't speak to her for a week. His first comment was, “Congratulations on your pregnancy. My sister vomited for months.” A few weeks later, Ms. Lawrence was fired. Mr. Rogers told her the business was shifting away from her area of expertise. Does Lawrence have a valid claim against Rogers? Under what law?
Practice Test #3
Reginald Delaney managed a Taco Time restaurant in Portland, Oregon. Some of his customers told Mr. Ledbetter, the district manager, that they would not be eating there so often because there were too many black employees. Ledbetter told Delaney to fire Ms. White, who was black. Delaney did as he was told. Ledbetter's report on the incident said: “My notes show that Delaney told me that White asked him to sleep with her and that when he would not that she started causing dissension within the crew. She asked him to come over to her house and that he declined.” Delaney refused to sign the report because it was untrue, so Ledbetter fired him. What claim might Delaney make against his former employer?
Practice Test #4
When Walton Weiner interviewed for a job with McGraw-Hill, Inc., he was assured that the company would not terminate an employee without “just cause.” Weiner also signed a contract specifying that his employment would be subject to the provisions of McGraw-Hill's handbook. The handbook said, “[The] company will resort to dismissal for just and sufficient cause only, and only after all practical steps toward rehabilitation or salvage of the employee have been taken and failed. However, if the welfare of the company indicates that dismissal is necessary, then that decision is arrived at and is carried out forthrightly.” After eight years, Weiner was fired suddenly for “lack of application.” Does Weiner have a valid claim against McGraw-Hill?
Practice Test #5
ETHICS John Mundorf hired three women to work for Gus Construction Co. as traffic controllers at road construction sites in Iowa. Male members of the construction crew incessantly referred to the women as “f—king flag girls.” They repeatedly asked the women if they “wanted to f—k” or engage in oral sex. One crew member held a woman up to the cab window so other men could touch her. Another male employee exposed himself to the women. Male employees also urinated in a woman's water bottle and the gas tank of her car. Mundorf, the supervisor, was present during some of these incidents. He talked to crew members about their conduct, but the abuse continued until the women quit. What claim might the women make against their co-workers? Is Gus Construction Co. liable for the acts of its employees? What procedure must the women follow to pursue their claim? Why do you think these men behaved this way? Why did they want to humiliate their co-workers? Continued on next card....
Practice Test #5 continued
What should the supervisor have done when he observed these incidents? What would you have done if you were the supervisor? A fellow employee?
Practice Test #6
CPA QUESTION An unemployed CPA generally would receive unemployment compensation benefits if the CPA:
a. Was fired as a result of the employer's business reversals
b. Refused to accept a job as an accountant while receiving extended benefits
c. Was fired for embezzling from a client
d. Left work voluntarily without good cause
Practice Test #7
Debra Agis worked in a Ground Round restaurant. The manager, Roger Dionne, informed the waitresses that “there was some stealing going on.” Until he found out who was doing it, he intended to fire all the waitresses in alphabetical order, starting with the letter “A.” Dionne then fired Agis. Does she have a valid claim against her employer?
Practice Test #8
The Duke Power Co. refused to transfer any employees at its generating plant to better jobs unless they had a high school diploma or could pass an intelligence test. The company was willing to pay two-thirds of the tuition for an employee's high school training. Neither a high school education nor the intelligence test was significantly related to successful job performance. Both requirements disqualified African Americans at a substantially higher rate than white applicants. Is the company in violation of Title VII?
Practice Test #9
The Lillie Rubin boutique in Phoenix would not permit Dick Kovacic to apply for a job as a salesperson. It only hired women to work in sales because fittings and alterations took place in the dressing room or immediately outside. The customers were buying expensive clothes and demanded a male-free dressing area. Has the Lillie Rubin store violated Title VII? What would its defense be?
Practice test #10
YOU BE THE JUDGE WRITING PROBLEM Nationwide Insurance Co. circulated a memorandum asking all employees to lobby in favor of a bill that had been introduced in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. By limiting the damages that an injured motorist could recover from a person who caused an accident, this bill would have saved Nationwide significant money. Not only did John Novosel refuse to lobby, but he privately criticized the bill for harming consumers. Nationwide was definitely not on his side—it fired him. Novosel filed suit, alleging that his discharge had violated public policy by infringing his right to free speech. Did Nationwide violate public policy by firing Novosel? Argument for Novosel: The United States Constitution and the Pennsylvania Constitution both guarantee the right to free speech. Nationwide has violated an important public policy by firing Novosel for expressing his opinions. Continued on next card....
Practice Test #10 continued
Argument for Nationwide: For all the highflown talk about the Constitution, what we have here is an employee who refused to carry out company policy. If the employee prevails in this case, where will it all end? What if an employee for a tobacco company refuses to market cigarettes because he does not approve of smoking? How can businesses operate without loyalty from their employees?
Practice Test #11
When Thomas Lussier filled out a Postal Service employment application, he did not admit that he had twice pleaded guilty to charges of disorderly conduct. Lussier suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) acquired during military service in Vietnam. Because of this disorder, he sometimes had panic attacks that required him to leave meetings. He was also a recovered alcoholic and drug user. During his stint with the Postal Service, he had some personality conflicts with other employees. Once another employee hit him. He also had one episode of “erratic emotional behavior and verbal outburst.” In the meantime, a postal employee in Ridgewood, New Jersey, killed four colleagues. The Postmaster General encouraged all supervisors to identify workers who had dangerous propensities. Lussier's boss discovered that he had lied on his employment application about the disorderly conduct charges and fired him. Is the Postal Service in violation of the law?
Practice Test #12
The following question appeared in The Wall Street Journal. How would you answer it?
Q: Imagine an employer and a male job candidate discussing employment. The candidate discloses that his wife is pregnant, and the employer is turned off, thinking the candidate will need time off during a busy time. The employer may even ask the candidate if he's planning to take family leave after the birth. If the candidate says yes, the employer might not hire him because of that. Would this be discriminatory?
Practice Test #13
ROLE REVERSAL Prepare a short-answer question in which an employee alleges that his discharge violated public policy, but you think a court would not agree.