Contemporary Business Law Study Set 1

Business

Quiz 36 :
Equal Opportunity in Employment

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Quiz 36 :
Equal Opportunity in Employment

Sexual harassment: Any actions by the employer or co-workers such as physical abuse, use of expletive words, display of sexually expletive material is considered as an abuse of an employee. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits any such actions against people and considers them as sexual harassment. Facts: H is rental manager at F Lift Company and HR is the President of the company. He often passed innuendos about H's gender and abused her. When H complained of his behavior, he apologized but after two weeks he started abusing her again. She quit the job and complained of hostile work environment and filed a suit against the Company. Outcome: The verdict of the court will be in favor of the employee H because her claims are valid and contain enough evidence to prove the same. Six weeks prior to her quitting the job she complained about HR's behavior but the company failed to act in a responsible manner. Also, the person is in a position to control H's day to day operations and is responsible to pay hikes. Therefore, the complaints lodged by H are valid and the company is responsible for creating a hostile work environment. Hence, the court's verdict will be in favor of H.

Facts of the Case CGW had two plants, where in all the inspection work was undertaken by the female employees. Later, when CGW adopted automation in his plants, it required inspectors for night shift too. However, at that time females were not allowed to work in night shift by law. Thus, CGW hired male employees for night shift. Also, they were paid higher than their female counterparts working in a day shift. After sometime, when the law that restricting females from working in nights was removed and Federal Equal Pay Act was enacted, CGW hired female inspectors for night shift as well, but maintained a low wages to female night shift workers in comparison to male night shift workers. Issue concerning the case Does CGW paying higher wages to previously hired male inspectors who worked in night shift than newly hired female inspectors working in night shift is lawful? Language of the Court As per United States Supreme Court stated : We agree it is clear from the record that had the company equalized the base-wage rates of male and female inspectors on the effective date of the Act, as the law required, the day inspectors in 1969 would have been entitled to the same higher 'red circle' rate the company provided for night inspectors. We therefore conclude that on the facts of this case, the company's continued discrimination in base wages between night and day workers, though phrased in terms of a neutral factor other than sex, nevertheless operated to perpetuate the effects of the company's prior illegal practice of paying women less than men for equal work". Decision of the Court As per the Equal Pay Act, " If two jobs are determined to be equal and similar, requiring equal effort, equal skills, equal responsibility and equal working conditions, an employer cannot pay different or disparate wages to member of different sex. In this case, female employees working as an inspector were being paid lesser than their male counterparts who were also working as an inspector in CGW. The U.S. Supreme Court held that since the work done by female inspectors during day shift or night shift was same to the work done by the male inspectors during night shift, thus paying one gender more than the other is unlawful under the Equal Pay Act. Thus, the female employees and male employees performing the similar work in similar conditions must be paid equally."

Facts of the Case The L.A. Department of Power and Water has a pension plan program for its employees that include both males and females. The pension plan is funded by both employer contribution and employee contribution, with payments benefits being equal for both men and women. Since, Women lives longer than Men statistically, female employees were required to pay 14.84% higher contribution than their male counterparts, which used to balance the requirement of more money in the pension funds required to pay for the years that a women live more than the men. Since, these contributions were deducted from the paycheck employees used to get; the women employees' take home salary per month was lesser than the men employees' take home salary. The number of employees was 2,000 females and 10,000 male in Los Angeles Department of Power and Water. Issue concerning the case Does differential payment in take home salary to employees based on gender in order to maintain the group pension benefits is a violation to Title VII of The Civil Rights Act? Language of the Court The Los Angeles Department of Power and Water's rule that required female employees for a higher contribution to pension fund plan, is focused unambiguously towards an individual. According to the Civil Rights Act, " It is unlawful to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual's race, color, religion, sex, or national origin". United States Supreme Court held that, " Even if the language of Title VII of Civil Rights Act of 1964 were less clear, it requires Courts focus on fairness to individuals rather than fairness to a particular group or class of individuals. Furthermore, with a context to insurance (or pension fund plan), treating and covering different classes of risks as though they were the same for purpose of group insurance cover (or group benefits) is a common practice, in other words, less riskier class subsidize benefits for more riskier class". Decision of the Court The U.S. Supreme Court held that " the statute of Los Angeles Department of Power and Water that required female employees to pay higher contribution than their male counterparts is in violation of Title VII of Civil Rights Act as it discriminates in equal payment to employees performing equal work on the basis of their gender. The U.S. Supreme Court ordered Los Angeles Department of Power and Water a refund of all excess contributions to female employees starting from the date of amendment to Department's pension plan till the date suit was pending".

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