Assignment 4: Constructive Discharge Case

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Memo To: From: cc: Date: Re: Christine McMillian, CEO Carmen Patton, Elementary Division Manager J. Todd Richman, Attorney October 8, 2013 EEOC Claim of Mrs. Jane Miller As per your request, I have reviewed the documentation of Mrs. Jane Miller in relation to her resignation and subsequent claim of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The following is a synopsis and review of the matter including an explanation of constructive discharge, legal concepts including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and a recommendation for a company response to the claim. A. Constructive Discharge In the most basic definition, constructive discharge occurs when an employee quits his or her job because working conditions…show more content…
Unquestionably, the decision to change the schedule of production staff was made by managers and directors with no direct knowledge of, and perhaps without consideration of, any employee’s religious affiliation or needs. Based on Walker Toy Company’s policies and procedures to comply with EEOC guidelines, a reasonable person may also agree that management felt this was not an important consideration, as they could have easily made accommodations in line with Title VII if Mrs. Miller had made her needs known. The reasonable person test is pervasive in case law as a factor in determining whether the employee’s resignation was reasonable. The case of Barrow v. New Orleans Steamship Ass’n (1994), established that certain factors are significant in determining constructive discharge: “(1) demotion; (2) reduction in salary; (3) reduction in job responsibilities; (4) reassignment to menial or degrading work; (5) reassignment to work under a younger supervisor; (6) badgering, harassment, or humiliation by the employer calculated to encourage the employee's resignation; or (7) offers of early retirement on terms that would make the employee worse off, whether accepted or not." This case supports my recommendation to litigate because Mrs. Miller was not subjected to any of these tactics, nor does she make any claims that any of these tactics were used toward her. In the case of…show more content…
Miller only meets three of the four criteria. Mrs. Miller is a member of a protected class, as we these claims have been made on the basis of religion. Additionally, her job performance met the expectations of Walker Toy Company. Unfortunately, the schedule change did have a negative impact on Mrs. Miller’s employment, as she felt her only course of action was to voluntarily resign. However, Mrs. Miller has failed to prove that the fourth criterion to establish discrimination was met. This case supports my recommendation of litigation because the change to the schedule affected all production staff. Those who are not in Mrs. Miller’s protected class were not treated more favorably than Mrs. Miller. The schedule change required that all employees who had previously not worked weekends would now be required to work the rotating schedule. C2. Prevention of Future Title VII Claims While case law and the reasonable person test lead one to the conclusion that Walker Toy Company is not guilty of constructive discharge against Mrs. Miller, the claim has created a realization that Walker Toy Company must do more. We have an obligation to defend our employees from any type of employment discrimination going forward. Please consider the following points to implementing policies and procedures in the near future that will accomplish this goal. Employees need to understand the importance of diversity in the workforce and to be sensitive to the needs of others.

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