The United States is in a period of
major transition from an economy where mass production manufacturing
industries constituted the core to a one in which industries based on
information and knowledge form the core. In addition to the shift from
mass production to knowledge-based enterprises, both the workforce and
consumer population has also changed significantly. These changes have
stimulated changes in employment laws and regulations as well as in
management and human resource policies and practices.
Muhl, C.J. “The Employment-at-will Doctrine: Three Major Exceptions.”
Federal Laws Prohibiting Job Discrimination
K. Reardon, “The Memo Every Woman Keeps in Her Desk. – The case study
concerns a woman who believes that she and other women are being
discriminated against in her company.
If Liz Ames at Vision Software sends the memo she has written to her
boss and is subsequently terminated would any of the exceptions to the
“employment at will” doctrine apply to her case? Would she be protected
under any federal law? Explain your reasoning.
Josie Zaroft, a 56 year-old senior software engineer at FutureApp,
has informed the human resource department that in advance of scheduled
gender reassignment surgery, she would like the staff to refer to her
using only female pronouns. The head of HR, Susan, once dated Josie
when she was known as Joe, a biological male. Susan calls Josie in for a
performance review and states that Josie will not receive a
previously-promised promotion because her transition will make it
difficult to manage the team of older male tech workers who “just won’t
understand this she-male fad.” Susan further states that Josie “must be
crazy” and is too old to be “performing drag” in the office. Has Josie
suffered from any “discriminatory practice” under federal law? Identify
which federal laws prohibiting job discrimination might apply, and
THEN REPLY TO THIS PERSON’S RESPOND (3-4 SENTENCES)
1. Firstly, the “employment at will” doctrine states that if an
employee doesn’t have a written employment contract and the term of
employment is indefinite, the employer can terminate the employee for a
good cause, bad cause, or no cause whatsoever. However, there are some
exceptions to this doctrine. The public policy exception states that an
employee has been wrongfully discharged when the termination is against
an explicit, well-established public policy of the State. Next, the
implied contract exception is applied when an implied contract is formed
between an employer and employee, even though no express, written
instrument regarding the employment relationship exists. Lastly, there’s
the covenant of good faith exception which means either that employer
personnel decisions are subject to a just cause standard or that
terminations made in bad faith or motivated by malice are prohibited.
When looking at Liz Ames’ termination I believe that the public policy
exception applies to her situation. It is now become commonplace to give
women equal opportunity in the workplace and to respect them as equals.
Her termination was clearly based on Clark’s naiveness and
unwillingness to accept the fact that there’s discrimination in his
company. By simply deciding to lay her off he is going against this
policy or norm. Not only this but under the policies of Title VII, Liz
is protected against discrimination or harassment based on her sex,
something she had to endure while at Vision Software. And now it is only
exasperated by Clark’s retaliation to her complaint.
2. I feel that Josie is definitely suffering from discriminatory
practice. Title VII can be applied here because Josie is being
discriminated against on the basis of her sex. Just because someone
doesn’t identify with their biological gender, it doesn’t mean that they
are any less capable of completing the tasks at hand. And the older
tech workers may not understand this sex change, but this is no reason
to belittle Josie and take away an already promised promotion.
Additionally, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act can be applied
here. There is no set age for when someone can or can’t “perform drag.”
This is completely opinionated and wrong. Josie may be older but she
should not be made to feel as though she is less than or that she can’t
have her own autonomy in the workplace.