Refer to EEOC v. Premier Operator Service’s case on page 331 in your book. What was the legal issue in this case? (Remember that the legal issue is the question of law that forms the basis for the appeal. Issues of fact are decided at the trial court level, whereas issue of law can be appealed to a higher court. HINT: The issue is stated in column 2 on page 332. ) What did the court decide? Why? Be sure to include the arguments stated in the case as part of your defense.
The legal issue in this case is whether or not the right as provided under Title VII, which is the prohibition against national origin discrimination, was violated by requiring Hispanic employees to observe the English-only rule within the premises of the employer. The court decided that the rights of the 13 Hispanics in the case of Premier Services were violated when the latter required these Hispanics to speak English only when they are off from work but within the premises of the employer. This requirement covered the time during lunch breaks.
The court reasoned that based on the testimony of the expert witness, it would be difficult for bilingual individuals to switch from one language to another when communicating to people of the same origin, thus violating one’s right against intimation and harassment. The court found that there was no justifiable business necessity for the policy imposed by Premier Services especially that speaking Spanish was a job requirement. Thus, the court found that a blanket policy violates Title VII and it rightfully awarded to the 13 Hispanics compensatory damages. 8.
Source: Chapter 10, p. 310 #10 in your book. AT&T employees were presented with a new employee handbook and required to sign a form certifying their receipt of the handbook and willingness to abide by the policies contained therein. An employee objected to the following statement in the handbook: “Each person at AT&T Broadband is charged with the responsibility to fully recognize, respect and value the differences among all of us. ” The employee felt that, based on his religious convictions, some behaviors and beliefs are sinful and not things that he could promise to “value.
” The employee sent a letter explaining that he was willing to be respectful and professional toward co-workers and customers, but that he could not in good faith sign the form if it meant agreeing to value conduct contrary to his religious beliefs. Several meeting ensued, but when the employee persisted in not signing the form, he was terminated. The employee sued. What should the court decide? Why? (Buonanno v. AT&T Broadband, 2004 U. S. Dist. LEXIS 6218) The employment law provides that employees shall respect workplace diversity.
This obligation is broad enough to be interpreted by any employer to a further extent. The latter may result to the constriction of one’s own religious rights as in the case of Buonanno v AT&T Broadband (2004). In the instant case, the court decided that AT&T went far beyond the requirements of the law to respect diversity at work by requiring Buonanno to value differences among other employees which may in effect violate Buonanno’s personal beliefs. The court stressed on Buonanno’s right to religious beliefs which may not be compromised in the pretext of work diversity.
To respect differences is entirely different from valuing other people’s personal preferences. One cannot be forced to value something which runs contrary to his own personal beliefs and values. One, however, has the obligation to respect other people’s views and values but only to the point of showing that respect. It does not mean to say that one has to go far beyond by recognizing the values of other people. Simply put, to recognize the value would be the first step to accepting the soundness of that value.
In the case of Buonanno, he held firm on this personal belief that his religious affirmations were important to him and those that run contrary to such affirmations could not be held of value. However, in the exercise of his right to such religious belief, Buonanno has the obligation to respect the rights of others who also have the right to their own personal beliefs. Thus, an employment contract which respects workplace diversity is not equivalent to an employment contract which AT&T forced upon Buonanno. The court rightfully decided in favor of Buonanno who was awarded a sum of money as recompense for sustained damages.