HRA 545 – Case Assignment 3 

Read each case scenario and analyze using the IRAC method. Submit the assignment to the Dropbox no later than Sunday 11:59 PM EST/EDT. (This Dropbox basket is linked to Turnitin.) 

Case #6
Van I. Irion, a Caucasian male who is a veteran of the United States Air Force, submitted an application for a position as a firefighter with Contra Costa County Fire Protection District in September 2000.

The process for obtaining a position as a firefighter with Contra Costa County Fire Protection District involves several steps, which are set forth in the county’s Personnel Management Regulations (“PMRs”). First, applicants are given a written test, a physical agility test, and an interview with the County Department of Human Resources, the results of which are combined to come up with a score for each applicant. In addition, a 5% Veterans’ Preference Credit is added to the scores of veterans who apply.

The Interview Schedules indicate that Irion received a numeric rating of 4. The Interview Schedules also appear to indicate that at least two minority candidates with lower initial rankings and lower Chief’s Interview scores were hired—#24 who is identified as Hispanic and received a rating of 3, and #53 who is identified as “Asian or Pacific Islander” and received a 3-4 score. In addition, one minority candidate with the same Chief’s Interview score of 4 and a lower initial ranking, #34 was hired. Finally, two minority candidates with Chief’s Interview scores of 4 and lower initial rankings than Irion, #68 and #69, appear to have been given initial conditional offers of employment, but they were not ultimately hired.

Beadle, who was Personnel Officer for the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District at the time of the relevant events, states in his declaration that he was present at the meeting in which the Chief’s Interview Panel made its recommendations for Academy Class 34 and that the panelists “did not recommend Mr. Irion for hire…because they unanimously felt his answers to questions illustrated that he was too rigid and would be a difficult employee.”

Irion asserts that Contra Costa County discriminated against him on the basis of veteran status, in violation of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (“USERRA”). Under USERRA, employers may not deny a person employment on the basis of membership, including past membership, in a uniformed service. USERRA is violated when veteran status is a “motivating factor” in the employer’s action.

Question: Was an applicant for a position as firefighter discriminated against because he was a United States Air Force veteran? Explain.

Case #7
Ms. Walker was a permanent clerk typist in the Internal Revenue Service’s Atlanta office. Ms. Walker is a light-skinned black person. Her supervisor was Ruby Lewis. Ms. Lewis is a dark-skinned black person. The employees in the office in which Ms. Walker and Ms. Lewis worked were predominantly black. In fact, following her termination, Ms. Walker was replaced by a black person. The working relationship between Ms. Walker and Ms. Lewis was strained from the very beginning, since approximately November of 1985. Ms. Walker contends that Ms. Lewis singled her out for close scrutiny and reprimanded her for many things that were false or insubstantial. Ms. Walker’s relationship with her former supervisor, Virginia Fite, was a cordial one. In fact, Ms. Walker received a favorable recommendation from Ms. Fite.

Ms. Walker met with Sidney Douglas, the EEO program manager for the Internal Revenue Service’s Atlanta district about the problems she was having with Ms. Lewis. Two weeks later, pursuant to Ms. Lewis’s recommendation, Ms. Walker was terminated. The reasons given for her termination were: (1) tardiness to work; (2) laziness; (3) incompetence; and (4) attitude problems. It is Ms. Walker’s belief that the reasons were fabricated and were the result of Ms. Lewis’s personal hostility towards Ms. Walker because of Ms. Walker’s light skin.

Question: The issue is whether color discrimination includes difference between light-skinned and dark-skinned people of the same race. Explain.