Short Answer Questions
1. What is the public policy exception to employment at will? Give one example of a termination that may be construed as an exception to employment at will based on public policy.
2. Define disparate impact and disparate treatment. How do they differ?
3. Define job description and job specification and describe how they are used.
4. Compare and contrast replacement charts and succession planning?
5. Discuss the different ways in which a firm can deal with temporary employee surpluses.
Respond to the following questions. You should use the Written Assignment Rubric in the Content area to help you when submitting your responses. Please remember that grammar and spelling are important! You will receive 15 points maximum for each question.
Question 1: What is affirmative action? What is an affirmative action plan?
Question 2: You have just taken on the role of Director of Recruiting at a grocery chain. The first thing you notice is that the Careers page and the website for your company does not represent your company’s desire to be an employer of choice. You have embarked on a quest to change that and your CEO has asked what you think about the company’s website. He has noticed that Fortune Magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” in 2016 listed three grocery stores in the top 100. They are:
(a) Nugget Markets(b) Wegmans Food Market(c) Whole Foods Market
Your CEO has asked you to research their websites and provide an evaluation of what you see. You should access the websites of these markets and conduct the following analysis:
Consider and specifically evaluate the design factor considerations (specifically address organization website design information found in your readings) Using this information provide an analysis to your CEO of these websites along with suggestions that would improve the recruitment section of each one.
Please remember – your response should be written for a CEO to read. Grammar, style, and punctuation are important for good communication in HR but CRITICAL when you are communicating with the executive suite. Remember – executives do not want to read a novel – you must learn to be brief but get your points across effectively. Your final analysis is worth a total of 15 points. No more than 2 pages should be submitted for this question and use citations where required!
Question 3: The We Deny Everything Insurance Company (WDE) handled a massive volume of claims each year in the corporate claims function, as well as in its four regional claims centers. Corporate claims were located in sunny California and the regional offices were located in Atlanta, Cleveland, Providence, and Las Vegas. Corporate claims were headed by the senior vice president of corporate claims (SVP). Reporting to the SVP were 2 managers of corporate claims (MCC-Life and MCC Homeowners/Residential) and a highly skilled corporate claims specialist (CCS).
Each regional office (4) was headed by a regional center manager (RCM). The RCM was responsible for both supervisors and claim specialists within the regional office. The RCM’s reported to the vice president of regional claims (VPRC). This is the structure before reorganization (I suggest you draw a chart for your own reference).
WDE decided to reorganize its claims function by eliminating the 4 regional offices (and the RCM position) and establishing numerous small field offices throughout the country. The other part of the reorganization involved creating 5 new CCS positions. The CCS position was to be redesigned and upgraded in terms of knowledge and skill requirements. It was planned to staff these new CCS positions through internal promotions from within the claims function.
The plaintiff in the case was Ron Whyme, a 53 year old RCM. Since his job was being eliminated, Ron was asked by the SVP to apply for one of the new CCS positions. The other RCM’s, all of whom were over the age of 40, were also asked to do so. Neither Ron nor the other RCM’s were promoted to the new CCS positions. Other candidates were also bypassed, and some of them were also over the age of 40. The promotions went to 5 claim specialists and supervisors from within the former regional offices, all of whom were under age 40. Two of the newly promoted employees had worked for, and actually reported to Ron, as the RCM.
Ron was not happy. Upon learning of his failure to be promoted, Ron wanted to determine why he was not promoted. What he learned led him to feel he has been discriminated against because of his age. Ron retained experienced and expensive legal counsel, Bruce Lincoln. Lincoln, a high-powered litigator, met informally with the SVP to try to determine what had happened in the promotion process and why his client Ron had not been promoted. Lincoln was told that there were a large number of candidates who were better qualified than Ron and that Ron lacked adequate technical and communication skills for the new job of CCS. The SVP refused to reconsider Ron for the job and said that the decisions were “final”. Ron, through his attorney Lincoln, then filed a suit in federal district court, claiming a violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (1967). Lincoln then subpoenaed numerous WDE documents and files including the personnel files of all applicants for the CCS positions.
Based on discussions with Ron and the subpoenaed documents, the following information emerged about the promotion process actually used by WDE. The SVP and the 2 MCC’s conducted the total process. They received no input from the VPRC or the HR department. There was no formal written job description for the new CCS position, nor was there a formal internal job posting as required by company policy. The SVP and the MCC’s developed their own list of employees that they thought might be interested in the job, including Ron, and then met to consider the list of candidates. At that meeting, the personnel files and previous performance appraisals of the candidates were not reviewed or consulted. After deciding on the 5 candidates who would be offered the promotion (all 5 accepted), the SVP and the MCC’s did browse the personnel files and appraisals of only these 5 employees to check for any disconfirming information about the employees. None was found.
Inspection of the files by Lincoln revealed no written comments suggesting age bias in past performance appraisals for any of the candidates, including Ron. Also, there was no indication that Ron lacked technical and communication skills. All of Ron’s previous appraisal ratings were above average, and there was no evidence that Ron’s performance had declined recently. An interview with the VPRC (Ron’s boss) revealed that he had not been consulted at all during the promotion process. Ron’s boss could not believe that Ron had not been promoted and in fact said that he was “shocked beyond belief”. In his opinion, there was “absolutely no question” that Ron was qualified in all respects for the CCS job.
Based on the facts above your must respond to Part A and Part B below:
Part A: Prepare an analysis that presents a convincing disparate treatment claim that Ron has been intentionally discriminated against on the basis of his age. Do not address the claim as a disparate impact one. (Hint: Look at the elements for a prima facie case of discrimination in Week 2)
Part B: Prepare a rebuttal, from the viewpoint of WDE, to the disparate treatment claim.