Labor Law

Scenario A relates to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993. FMLA is a federal law, which requires large employers to give their employees unpaid leaves for a maximum period of 12 weeks a year to attend to qualified family and medical matters. FMLA was enacted into the US law in 1993 in order to fulfill the growing needs of balancing between work and family among the employees. The Act clearly states that a worker, who is an employee of an organization with more than 50 employees, should be allowed a job- protected leave for up to 12 weeks a year. The Act makes it clear that the leave is unpaid but job-protected (The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, 2011).

For an employee to qualify for family and medical leave, he/she must fulfill the following conditions. He/she should have worked for his/her employee for a minimum period of 12 month or 1,250 hour with the last 12 months, although not consecutively. The reason for the leave should either be to care for a new child, whether by birth, adoption, or placement; to care for a seriously ill member of a family, whether a son, daughter, spouse, or a parent; to recover from serious illness; or to care for an injured member of the family. If an employee fulfills the above requirements, then he/she is entitled the following from his/her employer: the health insurance for his/her job group, which he/she would be entitled to if not on leave, and the restoration to the same position or at least an equal position once the leave period is over. He/she is also entitled to the restoration of all employment benefits entitled to his/her before the leave and protection from the punishment by the employer for exercising the rights of the Act (The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, 2011).

In scenario A, it is clear that the employee is qualified for the family and medical leave. This is because he had worked for his employer for more than 12 months, and his employer had more than 50 employees. The employee requested for job reinstatement after the eleventh week of his leave even though the FMLA provides a 12-weeks unpaid job-protected leave. However, the request for job reinstatement does not have a problem since the Act does not make it mandatory that an employee should spend the entire 12 weeks on leave. However, the employee should understand that the Act clearly states that the leave is unpaid. Therefore, he is not entitled to the withheld 11-weeks’ salary that he claims. He is only entitled to the reinstatement in a similar position or an equal position (which the employer has already guaranteed), reinstatement of his employment benefits, and health insurance for his job group. Therefore, there is no form of violation neither on the employee’s or the employer’s side.

Scenario B relates to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) of 1967. ADEA forbids any form of age-based discrimination in the places of work. The Act clearly prohibits the denial of employment benefits to older employees; age-based discrimination in hiring, promotions, layoff, or wages; and age limitations in the employment advertisements or notices. The Act defines an old person as an individual aged 40 or above. The Act allows age-based employment only when the nature of work deems it necessary for the employment of individuals of certain ages. For example, a theater owner may favor a young actor over an older actor when the role to be played is of a young person. However, the Act does not prohibit employers from favoring older employees over younger employees. The ADEA applies to all employers who have 20 or more employees (The Age Discrimination Act of 1967, 1991).

Employee B in scenario B has been an employee of the company for 42 years. After the annual performance evaluation, employee B’s performance score was rated ‘above average’. However, he was denied promotion due to his age, and instead, the promotion was given to a younger employee, aged 32, whose performance score was rated ‘adequate’. From this scenario, it has been clearly stated that employee B was denied promotion due to his age. This is a violation of the ADEA, which clearly prohibits any form of age-based discrimination in the places of work, apart from when the nature of work requires an individual of a specific age group or employment of an individual of a specific age group violates the law. Company X does not engage in activities that require the employment of a specific age group since this has not been mentioned. Furthermore, it does not appear as if the promotion position required a younger person than employee B. This is because it has been clearly stated that he was denied the promotion because of his age despite his good performance record.

In addition, company X violated the provisions of ADEA because the Act requires that all employers whose number of employees is 20 and above should not practice in any form of age-based discrimination. Company X employs 75 employees and thus ought not to have denied employee B a promotion because of his old age. Therefore, employee B’s rights, as provided by ADEA, were violated by his employer. He should be given the promotion because he recorded better performance that the 32-years old co-worker.

Scenario C relates to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). The Act prohibits all forms of discrimination based on an individual’s disability status. It accords individuals with disability the same rights accorded to all individuals under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Act defines disability as “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity” (The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 2010). The provisions of ADA cover four titles: the employment, public entities and public transport, public accommodations and commercial services, telecommunications, and miscellaneous provisions for title I, II, III, IV, and V respectively.

Title I, employment, which is the main concern in scenario C, indicates that a covered entity should not discriminate against qualified individuals with disability (The American with Disabilities Act of 1990, 2010). This covers all human resources procedures, such as the recruitment, placement, advancement, training, compensation, or discharge of duties, and privileges of work. The term ‘covered entity’ means an employment agency, labor management committee, or a labor organization. The term also refers to an employer who employs more than 20 employees. Some of the discrimination acts highlighted in the Act include not making reasonable accommodation for individuals with physical or mental disabilities, categorizing a qualified job applicant in an unfavorable manner, not advancing employees with disability in places of work or in business or failing to provide necessary training to employees with disability.

Although title II, public entities, is not the main concern in scenario C, some of its provisions are partly concerned. Title II of the Act requires public entities to provide the disabled members of the public with physical access, which are not obstructed by any discriminatory procedures. That is, they should meet the requirements of the ADA standards for accessible design. In this case, an employer’s premises, which house more than 20 employees, can be referred to as a public institution. Therefore, it ought to comply with the ADA standards for accessible design.

In scenario C, applicant C has been denied in the employment for the position he/she had applied because he/she was physically disabled (used a wheelchair for movement). According to the information provided, the applicant was told that he or she was denied only because their employment would be likely to cause undue hardship on the company. The undue hardship that the company X referred to was a mere adjustment of the key pads of its elevator cars in a manner that they were accessible by an individual using a wheelchair. This was the violation of the provisions of the ADA. This is because ADA requires all public places, including the place of employment, to provide facilities for the use by disabled people. These include wheelchair paths, disabled toilets, and elevators with accessible buttons among others. By refusing to adjust its elevator cars in order to include disabled-friendly features, company X violated the provision of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

The violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 also occurred when company X denied applicant C an employment opportunity due to his disability status. In the case study, it had been stated that when applicant C inquired about the denial for the employment opportunity, he/she was told that his/her employment in company X would have caused undue hardship. This clearly implied that the denial of employment was not based on skills, education, experience, or any other qualification element but on the physical status of the applicant. Therefore, the employee was discriminately denied employment in company X, which amounted to violation of the ADA. As a remedy, if the applicant meets the employment qualification, then company X should employ him/her and adjust its premises in order to ease the movement of the disabled employee.

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