Case Court Reporting (graded)
Case Court Reporting is a private court reporting company, which provides certified court reporters to law firms to take testimony in depositions and arbitration hearings, as well as providing “closed captioning” to local television stations for their community-based programming. Case Court Reporting (CCR) has 37 employees.
One of CCR’s court reporters is Hanna Holy, a devout Christian who will not use everyday swear words because of her religious belief, they take God’s name in vain. Hanna is a fast and accurate court reporter, but if a witness or lawyer uses swear words in any deposition or hearing she is reporting, she omits the offensive words. For example, when a witness said, “Hell, no, I don’t give a damn what he does,” Hanna typed, “Heck no, I don’t give a darn what he does.” When the law firm that ordered the transcript objected, Hanna’s “correction” was “H—, no, I don’t give a d—- what he does.” The law firm complained again, and the transcript had to be revised again (to state the original testimony) by another court reporter in the office who did not have Hanna’s sensibilities.
The office manager at CCR is Dale Dabbler, who recently proclaimed her conversion to Wicca-ism. In connection with her worship of several deities associated with her new beliefs, she believes she should be entitled to burn a candle in her office every afternoon, and carry a picture of one of the deities on her at all times, on a necklace that dangles from her neck. CCR does not believe it should be required to accommodate either Hanna or Dale’s religious practices on the job.
Due to a decline in the court reporting industry, CCR believes it must lay off about 10 of its court reporters. If layoffs are based on seniority, most of the youngest court reporters will be laid off. If the layoffs are based on skill level, which in court reporting is measured by the speed and accuracy at which someone can transcribe, most of the layoffs will be among CCR’s oldest employees, those aged 45 or older. One possible solution CCR is considering is offering an “early retirement package” to all employees aged 50 or older, under which they would receive a generous cash incentive to take retirement. For those not sufficiently induced, the company would require that they be transferred to in-office transcription of other court reporter’s notes, rather than continuing to be sent out to law firms for depositions and arbitration hearings.
Mary Sunshine, age 59, was dismissed last year as a court reporter for CCR, at a time when she was earning the highest pay and benefits of any reporter in the company. She was not given a reason for her dismissal, and was replaced by Ginny Fox, age 41, who was paid substantially less. After Mary made a complaint with the EEOC over her dismissal, CCR discovered that during her tenure as an employee, Mary had stolen office supplies valued at several hundred dollars.
As the HR director at CCR, what problems can you identify?
All American Gear (graded)
All American Gear, Inc. makes American flags. It has just under 50 employees. It is proud of its tradition of making its product only in the U.S., and with American workers. All American Gear (AAG) hires people of all ancestries, but requires that all its employees be U.S. citizens. Pedro, an immigrant from Costa Rica, who holds a resident alien card (showing he is in the U.S. legally) applied for a position at AAG for which he was otherwise qualified, and was turned down based on lack of U.S. citizenship.
Two employees of AAG, Rajid, a first generation American of Pakistani ancestry, and Sonja, a first generation American of Serb-Bosnian ancestry complained that two co-workers of Mexican ancestry made abusive, derogatory remarks about them in Spanish. There was some dispute about what was said, since everyone else who overheard the exchange speaks little or no Spanish. As a result, AAG adopted an “English only” policy at the workplace. Juan and Garcia, the alleged harassers, complained that the English-language-only rule discriminated against them because of their national origin.
Bernie is the national sales manager for AAG. His job duties include giving sales presentations to large groups. Several months ago, he was severely injured in a motorcycle accident, resulting in permanent hearing loss and a broken arm. The broken arm now requires months of physical therapy. Bernie wants AAG to hire an assistant for him to hear questions in the back of the room at sales presentations, and special equipment to type his reports.
There is a job opening at AAG for a sewing machine operator. This position requires someone who can operate and maintain the large industrial sewing machines that the company uses for stitching large cloth flags. The sewing machine itself has an emergency stop pedal on floor level, as well as other levers at 2′, 3 1/2′ and 5 1/2′ off the floor. It also requires someone who can set, reset, and un-jam large pieces of fabric from the sewing mechanism, which requires upper body strength, mobility, and flexibility. Dana, a paraplegic with sewing experience, has applied for the job.
Recently, after a wave of rumors began to cause complaints and absenteeism, two AAG employees disclosed certain medical conditions. Trace admitted that he is HIV positive and is taking a cocktail of drugs to combat his condition. Farah admitted that he is suffering from an attack of West Nile virus. Other AAG employees are refusing to work with or near either Trace or Farah and state that they will quit if they are required to do so.
What laws, if any, apply to these HR issues at AAG?