Review the following scenario and answer the questions below. You will have two attempts for this assessment.
DENNIS HAS A BAD WEEK
Dennis—a 52-year-old African American man and an employee in the production department at ABC Manufacturing
Rosa—a Hispanic woman and a long-time employee in the production department at ABC Manufacturing
Jimmy—Dennis’s friend who works in a similar position to Dennis at Core Enterprises
Bryce—Dennis’s boss at ABC Manufacturing
Brad Hoffa—the union representative for the International Federation of People Who Work
Kate—a female employee in the shipping department at ABC Manufacturing
Penelope Palmer—a local employment law attorney
Carlos—a Hispanic employee in the production department at ABC Manufacturing
Henry—a white employee in the production department at ABC Manufacturing
Sara—a female employee in the production department at ABC Manufacturing
DAY ONE: MONDAY
In the workroom at ABC Manufacturing, Dennis, a 52-year-old African American employee, has the following conversation with a Hispanic coworker, Rosa, and his boss, Bryce:
DENNIS: Hey, Rosa, you know my friend, Jimmy, who works over at Core Enterprises?
ROSA: Yes, he’s the guy who does the same job we do.
DENNIS: Yes, he has exactly the same job. Well, he and I were talking shop and he let slip how much money he makes. You wanna guess?
DENNIS: No, shekels! Yes, dollars. Plus, he gets three weeks’ paid vacation. Plus, bonus potential of five grand, and their health insurance rocks!
ROSA: What?! We are wasting our time. We need to look at forming a union.
DENNIS: Tell me about it. When I told Jimmy how much money I make, he laughed so hard I thought his beer would come out of his nose. He said we are getting slave wages and if we were at any other company, we would be making a ton more money.
BRYCE: Hi, guys, what are you talking about?
DENNIS: Nothing, Bryce. Just politics.
BRYCE: Listen, you know I don’t like you talking about pay. It stirs up trouble, and it’s against our policy.
On his lunch break, Dennis checks his company email, where he finds an email from Jimmy. Attached to the email is a picture of a naked woman with a funny caption. Dennis forwards it to his male buddies in ABC’s shipping department. An “adults-only” email exchange ensues among the email recipients. This kind of activity is not new to Dennis. During his break, Dennis also makes a telephone call to Brad Hoffa, the union representative for the International Federation of People Who Work, inquiring about possible union elections at ABC Manufacturing.
DAY TWO: TUESDAY
During a staff meeting on production quotas, which includes Bryce, Rosa, and other workers, Dennis brings up the issue of wages. The following conversation ensues:
DENNIS: Bryce, I’ve got a friend who works at Core Enterprises. You know them?
BRYCE: Of course, they’re our stiffest competition.
DENNIS: Right. So, this friend of mine does basically the same job I do, and he let slip how much money he makes. All of us here deserve a raise!
BRYCE: Well, Dennis, I don’t think this is the appropriate time to discuss that. So, moving on, if anyone can look at column 3 on the board . . .
DENNIS: Rosa, how much do you make?
DENNIS: Ha, too bad. Me and the guys make $42,000, and that’s still slave wages. Rosa, you even have seniority on us. What do you have to say to that, Bryce? You really are a Nazi!
BRYCE: Hold it, Dennis, you know talking about pay is against our policy. If you really want to discuss wages, we need to do it later in private, not during a company production meeting. Ok, everyone back to the board. Look at column 3’s numbers.
Kate, a female worker from shipping, is inadvertently sent Dennis’s provocative email and forwards it directly to Bryce with a complaint. Bryce becomes very angry, as he has reprimanded Dennis in the past for using the company’s computer system to send ”not suitable for work” emails.
Bryce is holding performance reviews that week for each employee he oversees, so he decides to review Dennis that afternoon. In the performance review, he begins by harshly scolding Dennis for sending the email. He then gives Dennis poor ratings on most aspects of his performance and sends him back to work.
Bryce holds a performance review with Carlos, a Hispanic employee from manufacturing with a history of inadequate performance. During the performance review, Bryce tells Carlos that his performance is good and to keep up the hard work in order to avoid conflict, even though Carlos’s performance has been terrible.
After conducting performance reviews that afternoon, Bryce realized he forgot to use the performance appraisal rubric provided by ABC Manufacturing, but he decided it wasn’t a big deal.
At home after work, Dennis logs in to the ABC Manufacturing email system. Dennis fears that Bryce is setting him up for termination, and so he emails a local employment law attorney, Penelope Palmer, and seeks her advice about what he should do to protect his job.
DAY THREE: WEDNESDAY
While Dennis is working on the production line, Bryce goes to Dennis’s locker and finds Dennis’s cell phone. Bryce looks through the recent telephone call list and discovers that Dennis contacted Brad Hoffa, with whom Bryce is familiar. Bryce looks through Dennis’s telephone and finds a stash of pornographic images. He also checks Dennis’s email to see if Dennis is talking bad about ABC Manufacturing. He finds numerous emails to the company’s employees complaining about the terms and conditions of employment. Bryce quickly writes down a list of the names of these “disloyal” employees. Bryce further learns that Dennis has been in contact with an attorney, Penelope Palmer. He reads all the correspondence between Dennis and the attorney. Bryce puts the telephone away and hurries back to work.
Bryce meets Dennis in the hallway and confronts him about the pornographic email sent on the company’s internal network. Dennis complains that it is just harmless banter and that he only sent it to guys “who can take a joke.” Dennis laughs the whole thing off and tells Bryce that most of the women also send dirty pictures. Bryce counters that women at the company are more discrete, so it’s not a problem. Bryce gets angry and threatens Dennis with termination. Dennis gives Bryce the middle finger and storms off.
Bryce sets the manufacturing schedule for the coming week. He looks carefully at the list of employees he found who were in communication with Dennis about possible union formation and purposely places them on difficult shifts or limits their work hours. He includes Dennis in that process. Bryce also reviews the employee handbook and discovers that using the company’s computer systems to access, retain, or send pornographic images is subject to discipline. The handbook also provides for progressive discipline, stating that an employee cannot be terminated for minor offenses unless he or she is given one oral and two written warnings.
DAY FOUR: THURSDAY
After a production meeting, when Dennis and Bryce are alone, the following conversation ensues:
DENNIS: Bryce! We’ve got a problem here.
BRYCE: What is it?
DENNIS: My friend at Enterprises doing my exact same job makes $50,000. Plus, he gets three weeks’ paid vacation and a bonus.
BRYCE: Just calm down. We are paying you fairly, if not generously.
DENNIS: Oh, you —–, Bryce! I am getting slave wages here.
BRYCE: You are getting what you deserve.
DENNIS: I am getting screwed. I want —–, Bryce!
BRYCE: You are going to get a letter of termination if you keep this up.
DENNIS: For what? Being used and grossly underpaid?
BRYCE: You can’t talk to your boss like this!
DENNIS: —–, Bryce!
Bryce holds another performance review with Henry, who is also from manufacturing. This time, Bryce remembers to use his performance appraisal rubric. The evaluation shows that Henry objectively has the best performance in his among his fellow employees, as he produces the most products, meeting the desired quality specifications.
At the end of the workday, a few of the employees of ABC Manufacturing are chatting as they leave the building. Henry finds out from Dennis that Sara, an employee known for flirting with Bryce on a regular basis, has just received the position he had been after for years even though her performance, experience, and seniority at ABC are all less than his.
Carlos angrily waves a pink slip in the air, saying, “Oh yeah? At least you still have a job! I was terminated for ‘poor performance,’ even though I did great in my performance review.”
Dennis remarked, “Who would want to work here anyway?”
DAY FIVE: FRIDAY
At the beginning of the workday, Bryce calls Dennis into his office and serves him with a termination letter. Dennis is escorted by security from the building. Later that day, after drinking several beers and calling his mother, Dennis calls his lawyer, Penelope Palmer.
A week later, Penelope files a wrongful termination claim in superior court and files complaints with both the National Labor Relations Board and the state equal opportunity in employment agency.
Bryce tells his employees that speaking about wages is against the company’s policy. This policy is __________.
- Legal, because employment law does not govern a firm’s internal business practices
- Legal, under the good faith and fair dealing exception to the at-will doctrine
- Illegal, under Title VII
- Illegal, under the National Labor Relations Act
Rosa might have a claim against ABC Manufacturing for which type of discrimination?
- Gender only
- Age and gender
- Race and gender
Bryce’s discipline of Dennis for sending sexually explicit emails on the company’s email system may be subject to a claim of which type of discrimination?
- Age only
- Race and age
- Gender and age
- Gender only
Bryce’s review of Dennis’s telephone was ____________.
- Lawful, as a proper investigation of a poorly performing employee
- Unlawful, under the National Labor Relations Act
- Unlawful, as a breach of privacy under tort law
- Lawful, because the telephone was on company property and Dennis has no right of privacy in the workplace
Bryce reviewed Dennis’s emails regarding the sexually explicit content on the company email system. This was ____________.
- Lawful, because Dennis has no right to send inappropriate emails
- Unlawful, as a violation of Dennis’s privacy
- Unlawful, as an invasion of privacy
- Lawful, as Dennis has no right of privacy to company emails
Bryce reviewed Dennis’s emails with his attorney, Penelope P. This conduct was ____________.
- Lawful, because it was conducted pursuant to an investigation into employee misconduct
- Lawful, as the emails were on the ABC Manufacturing computer network
- Unlawful, as a breach of Dennis’s right to privacy because of the attorney-client privilege
- Unlawful, as a breach of Penelope’s right to privacy
The National Labor Relations Act protects employees’ efforts to organize unions. Accordingly, Bryce’s discovery of Dennis’s telephone call with Brad Hoffa was ___________.
- Unlawful, as a breach of Title VII
- Unlawful, as a breach of Dennis’s right of privacy
- Unlawful, as a violation of the National Labor Relations Act
- Unlawful, as a breach of the federal Employee Protection Act
Does Dennis’s behavior at the production meeting on Tuesday (Day Two) justify termination?
- No, because he was seeking wages and benefits improvement for all employees, which is protected by the National Labor Relations Act.
- Yes, because he was being insubordinate.
- No, because he was talking about the wages and benefits for all employees, which is protected by Title VII.
- Yes, because he was disrupting a meeting and calling his boss names.
When Bryce schedules work assignments, he takes into consideration individual employees’ participation in discussing the potential of establishing a union. Bryce’s behavior is ___________.
- Not permitted under the National Labor Relations Act
- Not permitted under Title VII
- Permitted under Title VII
- Permitted under the at-will doctrine
ABC Manufacturing has an Employee Handbook. If it is introduced at court as evidence in Dennis’s lawsuit against the company, the handbook will be most beneficial to whom?
- Dennis, because Bryce has not followed the progressive discipline regimen required by the handbook
- Bryce, because it prohibits employees from sending pornographic images
- Bryce, because he has warned Dennis about sending pornographic emails
- No one, as the handbook is irrelevant in this case
Based on Bryce’s performance review with Carlos, what should Bryce do to ensure the most positive outcomes for ABC?
- He should forgo redoing the performance appraisal because they do not add value to performance management decisions.
- He should redo the performance appraisal because objective performance evaluations are crucial for avoiding liability.
- He should forgo redoing the performance appraisal because performance appraisals are costly to organizations.
- He should redo the performance appraisal because subjective performance evaluations are crucial for employee termination decisions.
If Carlos were to submit a discrimination claim to the courts surrounding his dismissal, _____________.
- He would likely have a case because Bryce was aware of his poor performance and can testify against him
- He would likely have a case because his most recent performance reviews would show that he is in good standing
- He would likely not have a case due to the doctrine of at-will employment
- He would likely have a case because he did not receive a warning before termination, but a white employee did receive a warning
If Henry became frustrated with Sara being promoted instead of him and decided to submit a discrimination claim, it would __________.
- Hold up in court, because performance management decisions should be merit-based rather than gender-based
- Not hold up in court, because companies have the right to promote who they want when they want
- Hold up in court, because he has suffered adverse job action due to quid pro quo sexual harassment
- Not hold up in court, because females are considered a protected class and should be promoted before males
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