Company X has reported three situations that have occurred that require investigating. Since employment and hiring practices are a part of my duties here at Company X, I have been charged with the investigation into these situations. In the subsequent report, the laws that companies must abide by will be outlined and how these laws affects the outcome in each of these three situations. The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 is one that ties in heavily to the first situation. “The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides certain employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year” (Solis, N.D.). This leave must be for the birth and care of a newborn, placement of an adoption, to care for an immediate family member, or for an employee that has a serious health condition. For qualification, an employee must have at least 12 months of continuous employment with 1,250 hours worked within that 12 months. This issue involves said Company X and an employee that will be identified as Employee A. Under the FMLA, both company and employee must meet the requirements under the law.
As an example, Company X must have at least 50 employees, while in reality, the company has over 75 employees. Employee A needs to have worked for Company X for at least 12 months and at least 1250 hours within that 12 months; the employment length for Employee A has been 24 months and met the hourly requirement. The explained situation is that Employee A requested leave because of the birth of twins to the couple and he was needed to help with the initial care of the babies. He was granted this leave because his employment length was over the 12 month minimum. Employee A returned at 11 weeks which is below the required limit of 12 weeks stated in the FMLA. Employee A was re-instated to his previous job and pay, as it was before his leave. But Employee A’s back pay for those 11 weeks of leave was denied. Under the FMLA, the company was obligated to grant him leave and return him to his former job and pay at the end of that leave. Also stated in the FMLA is that the leave taken would be unpaid. It is my determination that Company X followed the letter of the law in regards to the FMLA, including not paying Employee A for the 11 weeks of back pay.
Company X complied with every relevant sections of the FMLA, therefore the employee is owed no back pay. He was granted the leave and restored to his former job and pay afterwards in accordance with the FMLA. The second situation involves the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. “The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) only forbids age discrimination against people who are age 40 and over” (Age Discrimination, N.D.). Within the ADEA, Company X must have 20 or more employees and as stated previously, Company X has over 75 employees. The employee that this issue involves will be referred to as Employee B. Employee B is 69 years of age, has worked with Company X for 41 years, and has been rated as above average in work performance but was rejected for a promotion allegedly due to his age. Another employee who was rated as average in work performance and is just 33 years old was given the promotion instead.
Employee B naturally complained after being passed over a less experienced worker and was of the opinion that age was a factor. If Company X had made their decision for promotion on experience or seniority and even if it were by work ethic, Employee B would have gotten the promotion rather than the 33 year old employee. According to the ADEA, Employee B was due the promotion because of the two vital factors, seniority and quality of work. The company unfortunately decided that they should overlook these two vital factors when granting the promotion to the 33 year old employee. It rather seemed that their decision was exclusively based on age alone; subverting Employee B’s rights under the ADEA. Because of the initial decision concerning the promotion, it is my determination that Company X violated the ADEA in denying the promotion of Employee B on the basis of his age.
The ADEA is a law that protects employees 40 and older from unfair discrimination based on age. Company X was in the wrong and should correct this situation with all due haste. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) is legislation that applies to the third situation. Protection of people that have disabilities, be it physical or mental, is basically the purview of the ADA. A company must have 15 or more employees to fall under the ADA, and as stated previously Company X has more than 75 employees. An employee has to be able to perform the work required for the position they have applied for. They also have to be reasonably accommodated for their disabilities in a limited fashion. But the employer may deny employment to the applicant on the basis of causing the company undue hardship. The facts to be determined in causing the company hardship are considered as: minimum number of employees, available capital, and what it would take to make the appropriate accommodations for the disabled applicant.
If the ultimate cost of the accommodation is beyond the ability to financially afford reasonably, then the company may claim that it would be an “undue hardship” on their resources. “Undue hardship is defined as an action requiring significant difficulty or expense when considered in light of factors such as an employer’s size, financial resources, and the nature and structure of its operation” (The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Sept.). The person in this situation will be referred to as Applicant C. Applicant C applied for a position with Company X. The applicant is confined to a wheelchair and the job that is applied for involves constant movement over the entire six floors of the office. The applicant is able to perform the required movement without difficulty except for two of the four elevators. In these two elevators, the controls are just out of reach of the applicant from his wheelchair.
Company X declares the reason for denial of Applicant C’s employment application was that it would be an “undue hardship” on the company to comply with changes that would need to be made on Applicant C’s behalf. The accommodation would involve moving two panels down four inches, which is a relatively small distance. Major reconstruction would not be required and since this company is considered a relatively large business; questions of funding this change should have been negligible. In practicality, the applicant could make use of the other two elevators that he can reach from his wheelchair until the other two elevators can be modified to suit the applicant’s need. The determination of this situation is that the company cannot refuse to hire Applicant C on the basis of “undue hardship”. Since two of the four elevators are in fact reachable, by the applicant, and the company can reasonably make the modifications to the other two elevators with the company’s resources at a modest cost.
Company X cannot claim “undue hardship”. Company X erred in denying employment to Applicant C. In my assessment of all three situations, 1) Company X does not have to reimburse Employee A for his 11 weeks of leave which was, according to the FMLA, unpaid. 2) Company X should have given Employee B the promotion offered instead to 33 year old employee on the basis of seniority and higher rated job performance. And finally, 3) Applicant C, who is disabled and wheelchair bound, cannot be denied employment because of a minor accommodation that would need to be made to two elevators within the six floor office. Company X cannot claim “undue hardship” because the company can, in actuality, afford the changes that would need to be made. Each situation was thoroughly reviewed and determined that the facts and the legal application that applied to each situation and to the company.
Age Discrimination. (N.D.). U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Retrieved from http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/age.cfm Solis, H. L. (N.D.). United States Department of Labor, Leave Benefits. Retrieved from http://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/benefits-leave/fmla.htm#lawregs The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (September 9, 2008). Facts about the Americans with Disabilities Act. Retrieved from http://www.eeoc.gov/facts/fs-ada.html