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Memo to Ceo

In: Business and Management

Submitted By willie0175
Words 882
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Memo

Date:22 September 2014

To:Chief Executive Officer

From:Robert Willison

Subject:Constructive Discharge

Background: A former employee has filed a complaint against the company, claiming a violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act for constructive discharge.

Findings:

A. How is constructive discharge relevant to this case?

The former employee is claiming constructive discharge as a result of the shift change recently implemented. The shift change to 4 12-hour shifts was perceived by the former employee as discrimination as some of the work days may fall on religious holy days. Constructive discharge is one of the discriminatory practices wherein an employee is forced to resign because of perceived intolerable work environment and courts generally agree to the employee if they determine that a reasonable person would also feel the same way if given the employee’s position (Dempsey, & Petsche, 2006).

B. Relevant areas under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)“religious discrimination involves treating a person (an applicant or employee) unfavorably because of his or her religious beliefs. The law protects not only people who belong to traditional, organized religions, such as Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism, but also others who have sincerely held religious, ethical or moral beliefs.”
“Religious discrimination can also involve treating someone differently because that person is married to (or associated with) an individual of a particular religion or because of his or her connection with a religious organization or group.”
Further, the act requires “an employer or other covered entity 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”(EEOC, 2014).
Section 703 (a) of the said act also talks about the unlawful employment practices of an employer as regards to discrimination of compensation, terms, conditions, and privilege due to an employee’s religion, or to limit the employment opportunities of the employee because of such employee’s religion (Gomez-Mejia, Balkin, & Cardy, 2009).

Recommendation: Based on my research, constructive discharge did not occur, thus I recommend we defend our actions in court.

The burden to show discrimination will fall to the plaintiff. This will be difficult if not impossible as the plaintiff must show the policy (shift change) was an act to deliberately discriminate against the plaintiff.(Dempsey, & Petsche, 2006). Further complicating the plaintiff's position is the fact that the employees are not required to work certain days under the new policy. The policy states that employees will work 4 12-hour shifts, with 4 days off and those 4 days may occur anytime between Monday and Sunday. This allows for flexibility to schedule around any holy days.

In Lawson v. State of Washington (2002), the state won over the plaintiff on a claim of constructive discharge on religious discrimination. Although the plaintiff showed that he has a genuine religious belief in conflict with his duties and informed them about his beliefs to his employer, proving that he was discharged for failing to comply with the conflicting requirements was not accepted by the court because he basically quit. (Gregory Lawson v. State of Washington, 2002). As our former employee simply quit, and failed to make anyone in management aware of the perceived discrimination, this case may be quite instructive.

Similarly, in Goldmeier v. Allstate Insurance Company (2003), the plaintiffs had their case dismissed by the 6th circuit appeals court. Allstate planned to require offices to remain open on Friday and Saturday but the Goldmeiers, who are licensed insurance agents of the company, resigned because being Sabbath-observant Orthodox Jews, they can’t go to work on Fridays and Saturdays. The courts found out that the Goldmeiers quit and had not suffered discipline or discharge over the conflict. (David A. Goldmeier and Terry C. Goldmeier v. Allstate Insurance Company, 2003).

We are able to show that our new shift policy is not discriminatory, but rather allows for flexibility. Further, we can show that no discrimination took place as no other employee has quit or complained, especially any other employees who may subscribe to the plaintiff's religious beliefs.

Future recommendations to avoid future issues with this law or similar legislation.

Perhaps the most proactive step to take is to make supervisors and managers aware of the shift change well in advance to provide employees enough time to voice opinions and concerns. Any employees who fear the new policy may interfere or discriminate against them, will be able to make management aware so we can work out any issues. Allowing employees to be involved in the policy changes will also boost morale and reduce resistance.

Finally, making new applicant well aware of the positive and negative aspects of policies to ensure no issue will be present.

References

Dempsey, G., & Petsche, J. (2006). Library Law: Constructive Discharge. Retrieved from http://www.nsls.info/articles

David A. Goldmeier and Terry C. Goldmeier v. Allstate Insurance Company, 337 F.3d 629 (6th Circuit, 2003). Retrieved from http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-6th-circuit/1483827.html

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2014. Retrieved from http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/religion.cfm

Gregory Lawson v. State of Washington, DJDAR 7791 (9th Circuit, 2002). Retrieved from http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-9th-circuit/1260916.html…...

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