Good Midterm Exam Research Paper Example
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1. Discuss the benefits to the employer of having an "at will" contract with each employee.
“At will” employment contracts give both the employer and employee the freedom to terminate their employment relationship at any time and for whatever reason without any prior notice. Employers can benefit in several ways from signing such agreements with each employee. First, an employer is free to terminate the employee without fear of any legal ramifications such as unemployment claims or implied contract exceptions. When an employee signs the contract, he/she waives his/her right to seek redress in courts. In addition, “at will” contracts override any causal statements that the employer makes that may lead the employee to believe erroneously that the employment in long-term (Lovering, n.d.).
Secondly, “at will” contracts permit employers to terminate employees who are a poor fit to the needs of the organization. Causes of the lack of fit include employees who cannot co-exist with other workers, and inexperienced employees who lied about their capabilities in their applications. Thirdly, “at will” contracts can benefit employers such as small business owners, who experience fluctuating staff needs (Lovering, n.d.). As a result, they are free to terminate employees in periods of recession in order to cut on costs.
2. How is tortious interference with contract different than breach of contract? Explain in complete clear sentences.
Tortious interference results when a third party (tortfeasor) intentionally induces someone to break the contractual agreements they have signed with another person (Triqueros, 2014). Usually, the third party is the individual who is not party to the contract and stands to accrue financial benefit if the contract is breached. Examples of tortious interference include offering goods at prices below the market price to induce a breach of contract or blackmailing a contracting party to abscond their contractual obligations. Thus, the plaintiff (the non-breaching party) seeks remedy under tort law and must prove that the tortfeasor (defendant) knew about the contract and intentionally induced its breach, resulting in economic damage. The plaintiff can receive both legal and equitable damages such as lost profits, injunction or punitive damages.
Conversely, a breach of contract occurs when a party to a contract, either intentionally or negligently, fails to undertake his/her obligations as specified in the contract (FindLaw.com, n.d.). Unlike tortious interference where the defendant is not party to the contract, the defendant in a breach of contract is a party to the contract. The plaintiff (the non-breaching party) seeks remedy under contract law. Also, the remedies available to the plaintiff include damages, specific performance, and cancelation and restitution. The damages accrued by a plaintiff in a breach of contract are numerous than those available in a tortious interference. They include punitive, liquidated, compensatory and nominal damages. Specific performance is a court order obligating the defendant to perform his/her duties under the contract. Finally, the plaintiff may cancel the contract altogether and sue for restitution instead. The last two remedies are not available for tortious interference.
3. Explain why employers should not discriminate against applicants for employment on the basis of race, creed, national origin or gender. Try to use both ethical and legal principles.
Discrimination refers to distinguishing between people based on prejudicial characteristics rather than individual merit (Zeepedia.com). Such characteristics include religion, race, gender, national origin, age or disability. Both the federal and state governments have enacted laws that illegalize such discrimination in employment. Thus, employers must adhere to these laws or face multiple lawsuits that may result in massive compensatory damages that might cripple their companies. In addition, non-compliant companies may face punitive damages such as business closure. Employment discrimination is also unethical. According to the Kantian thinkers, discrimination is immoral because it violates fundamental human rights (Zeepedia.com, n.d.). Human beings were created equal, and discrimination thus violates this right, causing emotional injuries to the victims. In addition, discrimination is unethical because those who discriminate would not want to change places with their victims and experience similar circumstances. The law empowers the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to enforce employment discrimination laws (EEOC, n.d.). Examples of these laws include the following:
The Civil Rights Act (Title VII) of 1964
This law makes illegalizes discrimination based on race, religion, color, gender, or national origin, in matters such as discipline, promotion, training, and hiring.
The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA)
This law makes prohibits paying different wages to women and men if they undertake the same work in the same job environment.
Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) - 1967
This law prohibits employers from discrimination against people aged 40 and above.
This law illegalizes discrimination against persons with disability who are qualified for the job. The law further obligates employers to accommodate the needs of such persons to the extent that such requirements do not cause undue strain on the organization.
4. What is front pay and when could a court order it? Answer in clear and complete sentences.
Front pay is a form of damages representing the amount of wages that an employee would have received if they were reinstated to their previous jobs (Johnson, 2011). It may also apply to salaries accruing from positions resulting from promotions that they were unfairly denied. The court usually awards front pay under several conditions. Firstly, when no job position is available in the organization. In this regard, the front pay compensates the employee for that period that the courts deem a reasonable time for the employee to secure another job. Secondly, when a subsequent working relationship between the employer and employee would be antagonistic. Such a relationship would result in undue conflicts and frustrations between the parties involved. Thirdly, when the employer has a record of long-term resistance to anti-discrimination efforts. Such an employer is likely to hold grudges against employees who file discrimination lawsuits and are known to frustrate the employee further using retaliatory practices. Fourthly, when an employee is approaching retirement age. In this regard, the front pay covers lost future wages within the short period before retirement.
5. David Delmonico, the CEO and owner of Delmonico, Inc. where you are the Director of HR, has directed you as follows: "Fire everyone in the plant over age 55. They are costing me too much. Our pension plan forces me to pay too much into their plans. Paper over their work records so it looks like I fired them for a good cause." Do a short memorandum to the employer explaining to him why, based on legal reasons, you are recommend against this course of action.
According to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), it is illegal to discriminate against people aged 40 and above in matters such as recruitment, terms and conditions and benefits of employment. This law applies to companies with a minimum of 20 employees, such as we are. If we terminate all employees aged 55 and above without any substantiated reason, they may file lawsuits for wrongful discrimination. If the cases are successful, the company will suffer losses in the form of back pay, front pay, money damages, injunctions, reinstatement and promotion, and attorney fees. Also, the goodwill of the company will be lost, and its reputation ruined. Such termination of employees is only applicable to the following circumstance.
First, when certain age limitations are bona fide occupational qualifications for the job. In our case, the employees aged above 55 years are still qualified to undertake the responsibilities of their current positions. Second, when reasonable non-age factors limit employees’ eligibility. In or case, most of the employees aged above 55 years do not have any non-age incapability that may limit their eligibility for employment. Third, when executives are offered an annual pension benefit of at least $44,000 to retire at age 65. In our case, only a few of those aged above 55 years hold executive positions. Even if we offer them this option, the company will still remain with a large portion of non-executive employees aged above 55 years.
The best action would be to ask them to sign a waiver of their ADEA Rights and Claims in exchange for a valuable settlement or incentive in addition to the employment benefits to which they are entitled. This action will prevent any disgruntlement and lawsuits that may result from wrongful termination.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). (n.d.). Laws Enforced by EEOC. Retrieved February 12, 2015, from http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/
FindLaw.com. (n.d.). "Breach of Contract" and Lawsuits. Retrieved February 12, 2012, from http://smallbusiness.findlaw.com/business-contracts-forms/breach-of-contract-and-lawsuits.html
FindLaw.com. (n.d.). Age Discrimination Law. Retrieved February 12, 2012, from http://employment.findlaw.com/employment-discrimination/age-discrimination-law.html
Johnson, B. L. (2011, August 7). Retrieved February 12, 2015, from http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/labor_law/meetings/2011/annualmeeting/004.authcheckdam.pdf
Lovering, C. (n.d.). Good Things about At-Will Employment. Retrieved February 12, 2015, from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/good-things-atwill-employment-34594.html
Triqueros, A. (2014, March 10). Wrongful or Tortious Interference with Contracts | LegalMatch Law Library. Retrieved February 12, 2015, from http://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/wrongful-or-tortious-interference-with-contracts.html
Zeepedia.com. (n.d.). The Ethics of Job Discrimination: Job Discrimination: Its Nature Business Ethics Business Management. Retrieved February 12, 2015, from http://www.zeepedia.com/read.php?the_ethics_of_job_discrimination_job_discrimination_its_nature_business_ethics&b=40&c=45
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