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Employment Questions

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1. Workers’ Compensation. Angus, as a condition of his employment, lived in a mobile home owned by his employer, Deff Industries. The mobile home was lo­cated on the grounds of Deff’s plant and was purchased by Deff to house the Angus family because it wanted Angus to “maintain a constant presence on the premises.” Although Angus ordinarily worked out of an office located in a different building, the mobile home had a telephone, so Angus would be able to contact company drivers and customers as needed. One day, Angus returned to the mobile home and awaited the arrival of a truck on company business.

About fifteen minutes after Angus had arrived at the mobile home, and while the family was eating dinner, a tornado struck. The tornado left Angus’s wife dead and Angus and his daughter severely in­jured. Angus filed a workers’ compensation claim against Deff, alleging that his injuries “arose out of his employment.” Among other things, Deff argued that the injury did not occur within the course of employment, because Angus was not working but eating dinner with his family when the tornado struck. How should the court decide?

Answer:The court should rule on Angus’ side because, yes his family was eating dinner, however, he was waiting for a company truck to arrive. The description for Workers Compensation states, there must be an employment relationship, and the injury must be accidental and occur on the job or in the course of employment. Such elucidation referenced before us, signals that Angus is in enforceable right to collect workers compensation.

2. Workers’ Compensation. Linda, employed as a state traffic officer by the California Highway Patrol (CHP), suffered an injury at home, off duty, while prac­ticing the standing long jump. The jump is a required component of the CHP’s annual physical performance program fitness test. Linda filed a claim for workers’ compensa­tion benefits. The CHP and the California workers’ compensation appeals board denied her claim. Linda appealed to a state appellate court. What is the re­quirement for grant­ing a workers’ compensation claim? Should Kidwell’s claim be denied?

Answer:The description for Workers Compensation states, there must be an employment relationship, and the injury must be accidental and occur on the job or in the course of employment to file a claim for workers compensation. Linda was at home and “Off Duty” while this injury occurred. Unequivocally, this injury was not a result of work-enhanced activities as stated in the description above. Hence, Linda should not be eligible to file a claim; even though she was practicing for work-related functions, her injuries did not result from being on the job or in the course of employment.

3. Defenses to Employment Discrimination. Dorothea worked as a quality control inspector for Hercules, Inc., for six years when her employment was terminated in 1986. Dorothea, who was over forty years of age, sued Hercules for age discrimination in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. While preparing for trial, Hercules learned that Dorothea had made several misrepresentations when she applied for the job. Among other things, she misrepresented her age, did not disclose a previous employer, falsely represented that she had never applied for work with Hercules before, and untruthfully stated that she had completed two quarters of study at a technical college. Additionally, on her application for group insurance coverage, she misrepresented the age of her son, who would otherwise have been ineligible for coverage as her dependent. Hercules defended against Dorothea’s claim of age discrimination by stating that had it known of this misconduct, it would have terminated her employment anyway. What should the court decide? Discuss.

Answer:Under the After-Acquired Evidence Of Employee Misconduct, evidence of an employee’s prior misconduct acquired after a lawsuit is filed may limit damages but is not otherwise a defense. In such case, Dorothea’s actions should disable her eligibility to attain a lawsuit and with that, be rewarded any damages. Her perpetual misrepresentations on her application and insurance policy should be quantifiable facts represented before the court to exhibit her deceitful actions that consequently void any remedies sought.

4. Religious Discrimination. Mary, a devout Roman Catholic, worked for Dillard Department Stores. Dillard considered Mary a productive employee because her sales exceeded $200,000 a year. At the time, the store gave its managers the discretion to grant unpaid leave to employees, but prohibited vacations or leave during the holiday season (October through December). Mary felt that she had a “calling” to go on a “pilgrimage” in October to Medjugorje, Yugoslavia, where some persons claimed to have had visions of the Virgin Mary. The Catholic Church had not designated Medjugorje as an official pilgrimage site, the visions were not expected to be stronger in October, and tours were available at other times. The store managers denied Mary’s request for leave, but she had a nonrefundable ticket and left anyway. Dillard terminated her employment. For a year, Mary searched for a new job and did not attain the level of her Dillard salary for four years. She filed a suit in a federal district court against Dillard, alleging religious discrimination in violation of Title VII. Can Mary establish a prima facie case of religious discrimination? Explain and provide reasons to support your position.

Answer:Mary cannot establish religious discrimination, because in its contract, Dillard prohibited vacations or leave during the holiday season and that’s when Mary left for the religious sighting. No discrimination of any kind was ever emitted on behalf of the company. Dillard did deny her request to take time off because of the circumstances in which it was during busy holiday season. Under prima facie, plaintiff must show a connection between a requirement or practice and a disparity. However, no correlation exists between a practice and a disparity because the denial for time-off was company policy and not because of discrimination of religious elements.

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