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Emplyment Risk: Fast Service Inc.

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Due to the recent failure of its online product distribution endeavors, FastService Inc. is now facing potential layoffs throughout the company. Top executives have narrowed down a list of five people, three of whom must be fired. Layoffs, though necessary at times, are often extremely difficult decisions to make. This process is further complicated by the strict enforcement of employment law. Legislation, such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964, protects certain classes of individuals and prohibits employers from employment termination based on specific criteria.

Though FastService's reason for downsizing its employment source stems from the failure of its online distribution project, it is still important that the company avoid any action that can be viewed as discriminatory when deciding which employees to let go. In the following pages, the profiles of employees up for possible termination will be reviewed as well as the various legislation that holds each person in a protected class.

When managers, acting as agents of an organization, are asked to choose employees to let go, they must "make decisions with no concern for their own preferences, but only for those of their principals" (Chew & Stuart 2005). Therefore, before making any final recommendation, it is first wise to identify actions that may harm the company, recognize the organizations need for specific skill sets, and weigh all risks associated with terminating each employees contract. In order to weigh such risks, it is beneficial to be familiar with legislation that limits the organizations ability to fire at will. Prior to the 1930's, Employment-at-Will yielded much more power to employers, who were able to fire employees anytime without cause (Reed, Shedd, Morehead, Corley, 2005). In this particular situation, the following federal statutes should be taken into account, as they each limit Employment-at-Will Doctrine:

* Fair Labor Standards Act

* Civil Rights Act

* Age Discrimination in Employment Act

* The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (amended Civil Rights Act in 1978)

* American with Disabilities Act

Carl Haimes is a 34 year old Caucasian male and a qualified systems analyst with a bachelors degree, whose productivity and performance have been above average in the last two years. Though he has no record of recent significant achievement, his skill set is still valuable to the company. In addition, he has not been overly absent from work. Carl Haimes is also gay and recently, his sexual orientation has brought upon ridicule from fellow colleagues. If Haimes were to be fired, a potential discrimination suit could easily ensue. Though not a federally protected class under Title VII, many states do forbid discrimination based on sexual orientation (Reed, Shedd, Morehead, Corley, 2005). Furthermore, Carl's skill set is still a great value to the company and his track record is clean and impressive. If he were to be fired, it would be difficult to prove that it was based on anything other than the recent commotion caused by his sexual orientation.

Brian Carter, a 32 year old Caucasian male, has been a great asset to the website team. He is well liked by co-workers and holds advanced certificates. Brian's track record and productivity levels are just average and he has missed over two weeks of work in the last two months. Well liked or not, Brian is a good candidate for termination. Cuts in the workforce are being conducted because there is no longer a website division. As such, Brian's skill sets are no longer valuable to FastService. As of this moment, Brian does not fall into a protected class under the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) standards. However, upon termination, there is a small risk that Brian can sue under the American with Disability Act (ADA), which states that employers cannot discriminate on the basis of a disability (Reed, Shedd, Morehead, Corley, 2005). After he files medical papers stating that he has Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Carter may claim that he was fired for missing work due to his disability. While there is a small risk of this occurring, the severity is rather low. Regardless of Brian's new classification as disabled, his firing would have been for reasons unrelated to class, in that his skills were no longer of use to FastService.

Sarah Boyd, a 53 year old clerk in Dispatch, will more likely than not, cause the most conflicting feelings for the management in charge of her potential termination. Strictly based on asset to the company, Sarah's skills are redundant and not likely to transfer over to any other role. Her production rates are average and her absence leave is fairly high. However, she has been loyal for many years and is more knowledgeable about office management than any other employee. In this situation, it is imperative that management bear in mind his or her role as an agent of the company and not as an individual. In addition, there is a risk that Sarah's termination could be seen as a violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which applies to people over age 40 and prohibits discrimination based on age (Reed, Shedd, Morehead, Corley, 2005). Though a risk, the likelihood of a suit being filed by Sarah is low and her termination is based on a lacking skill set and not age.

Nora Manson is a 28-year-old African American woman who has made significant contributions to the company in the last two years, which include rescuing two large accounts. She does not have a college degree but is trained in public speaking and deals with various customer complaints. However, Manson's productivity is often low and it has been an increasing issue for management. Given the experience that Manson currently holds in sales, telemarketing, and customer relations, her skill set is still of value to the company. Though Nora's low productivity should be addressed, termination at this time would be an unwise decision. Furthermore, given Nora's views on feminism, past actions encouraging other employees to file lawsuits, and relationship with the local NAACP, there is a high risk of a lawsuit alleging a violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 - Title VII which prohibits discrimination in the workplace based on race or color (Reed, Shedd, Morehead, Corley, 2005). Given that Manson's skills are still a necessity to FastService and a recent jury poll that shows approximately 70% of discrimination trials favoring the plaintiff (Reed, Shedd, Morehead, Corley, 2005), the all but guarantee of a lawsuit is too large a risk for FastService.

Jenny Mills is 30-year-old female in her 5th month



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