Business Management Data Bank: CASE QUESTIONS

Subject: Business    / Management
Question
CASE QUESTIONS

Case 3.1

As an HR consultant, you are conducting an informational seminar on EEO-related issues and the ramifications of the 1991 Civil Rights Act. During a coffee break, Sam, an owner of a small company, describes a situation in his company. His brother’s nephew has a tendency to talk down to Asian-American women in the company. He refers to them as spies, war starters, “slopes,” etc. The owner thinks he’s okay because he doesn’t know about this officially, since no one has filed a complaint. He’s only heard this through the grapevine. During the conversation, you discover that Sam’s company is a federal contractor.

94. Refer to Case 3.1. Sam’s nephew’s behavior constitutes:

a) adverse impact.

b) inappropriate but not illegal behavior.

c) harassment.

d) a case of quid pro quo sexual harassment.

e) a violation of Executive Order 11246.

95. Refer to Case 3.1. Under the Civil Rights Act of 1991, which of the following is true for Sam’s company?

a) They could not be sued because no one has lost their job because of this behavior.

b) The burden of proof is on the employees. They must come forward and prove something is wrong.

c) As long as Sam doesn’t have to deal with an “official” complaint, his company is not liable.

d) The company could be sued for compensatory and punitive damages.

e) They are in violation of the Sex Discrimination Act.

96. Refer to Case 3.1. If an employee sued Sam’s company, they would have to prove ____ to win their case.

a) that a reasonable person would find this a hostile working environment

b) a prima facie case of discrimination

c) significant psychological damage due to this treatment

d) physical threats or actual touching by Bill’s nephew

e) only that the behavior was objectionable

97. Refer to Case 3.1. Bill’s best course of action at this point would be to:

a) hire a good attorney.

b) establish a policy against sexual harassment.

c) refer the situation to the EEOC.

d) confront his nephew about his behavior and discipline him.

e) quickly investigate any claims against his nephew.

Case 3.2

You have been hired as the first HR Director of a company with about 100 employees. As you begin to learn about the company, you discover that women managers are paid about 20% less than their male counterparts. When you ask why, the president tells you it’s because men have families to support, while the women are earning “extra” income. As you review personnel files, you notice that protected-class employees are promoted less often and have longer terms between promotions and raises than white employees. You discover that a test is used as part of the promotion process and that protected-class candidates always do about 25% worse on it than white candidates. Another test is used to screen job applicants. It screens out about 25% of white male applicants, but about 50% of protected-class applicants.

Your company has a hazardous product division. Traditionally, women are not hired or promoted into that division which is exclusively male. Your president is concerned that the toxic nature of the production process will adversely affect the female employees’ reproductive processes.

98. Refer to Case 3.2. As the HRM Director, you are meeting with the president over a number of issues. The first that you decide to take up is the compensation of managers. You advise the president that:

a) the current situation is okay because it can be “grandfathered in,” but you need to change it with all future hires and promotions.

b) the company is in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

c) you face legal liability because the company is in violation of the Equal Pay Act of 1963.

d) the OFCCP is probably monitoring their lack of compliance with HRM law and will be filing suit against them soon.

e) what the company is doing isn’t right, but it is legal since it started before the passage of relevant legislation.

99. Refer to Case 3.2. The second issue you raise in the meeting is the current promotional process used in the company. You inform the president that:

a) the company is guilty of disparate treatment.

b) the company is in violation of the Equal Pay Act.

c) the company is violating the pregnancy provision of Title VII as amended in 1978.

d) the use of the test is creating an adverse impact on non-white candidates and that constitutes discrimination.

e) the process is creating a hostile working environment.

100. Refer to Case 3.2. For your company’s recruiting test to pass the four-fifths rule, about ___ of employees would need to pass it.

a) the same percentage as do now

b) 40%

c) 50%

d) 60%

e) 75%

101. Refer to Case 3.2. Finally, you point out to the president that the company policy prohibiting women from working in the hazardous waste products division is:

a) a wise company policy to limit potential liability from women filing suit over birth defects.

b) well-meaning but illegal due to the 1978 amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

c) illegal according to the Supreme Court decision of Griggs versus Duke Power.

d) creating an adverse impact on women employees.

e) creating a hostile working environment for women.

Case 3.3

You are an HRM consultant who helps companies deal with HRM legal issues. You are conducting a seminar on changes in HRM law since the Civil Rights Act of 1991 and the implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. During the seminar, you explain current burden of proof requirements, quotas, and possible damage awards. You review how companies are to make reasonable accommodation for disabled applicants and employees, and the cost of those accommodations. Part of the presentation reviews key terms like protected class, essential and marginal job duties, etc. Finally, you cover the Age Discrimination Act and the Vocational Rehabilitation Act. Although these were passed two and three decades earlier, they are now a significant part of the HRM law environment.

102. Refer to Case 3.3. During your seminar, a client explains how his company, trying to rectify past shortcomings, has initiated a quota system in all future hirings. You respond:

a) with commendation, telling her that it’s great to see a company own up to its past mistakes.

b) that the office of the OFCCP will be pleased to hear it.

c) that the Civil Rights Act of 1991 makes such action illegal, and while the program is well-meaning, the company should put an end to it.

d) that the University of Massachusetts Medical Center case shows that they should try a different approach.

e) that they are currently in violation of Executive Order 11246.

103. Refer to Case 3.3. During a coffee break at the seminar, another attendee approaches you to ask about his company’s potential exposure in a sex discrimination case. You explain that:

a) the burden of proof is on the employee, so there is little to worry about.

b) based on the average size of awards in the past, the employee could receive approximately $50,000 to $300,000.

c) the manager responsible could be jailed for up to three years.

d) the employee can only collect back pay, not punitive or compensatory damages.

e) in the case of Gems International, the company was bankrupted by a $1.1 million award.

104. Refer to Case 3.3. You offer an example of a case where an employer won a discrimination suit because the essential job functions could not be modified to accommodate a qualified but disabled applicant. Which of the following is an example of such a situation?

a) A job where the ability to access, input, and retrieve data is essential and a qualified applicant without hands was refused the job.

b) A grocery clerk’s job where some of the clerks were required to be available to close the store at the end of the business day. A qualified disabled applicant who took public transportation was not able to stay late enough to close was denied the job.

c) A library researcher’s position where the applicant accessed databases in order to do the research. A wheelchair-bound applicant was denied the job because the workstation would not accommodate her wheelchair.

d) A restaurant wait-job required the ability to handle money, add up the bill, and use a cash register. A Downs-Syndrome applicant who can do general math is denied this position but offered a busperson job.

e) A telephone customer service representative position requiring the ability to use standard English and experience using a computer database to answer customer questions was advertised. An applicant with a minor speech impediment is denied the job because of the impediment.

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