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Relationship Analysis Between Statutes And Case Law

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Relationship Analysis between Statutes and Case Law

Laws against discrimination in employment were developed to provide remedies for victims of this unfortunate form of behavior that exists in America today. The following paper provides insight into lawsuits based on discrimination in the areas of age, religion, and disability and the statutes that provide complainants with the ability to seek relief from discriminatory practices.

Employment Law - Age Discrimination

Smith v. City of Jackson, Mississippi

On March 30, 2005, the Supreme Court decided the case of Smith v. City of Jackson, Mississippi. The case summary is as follows: 30 Police officers and Police dispatchers in Jackson, Mississippi sued the city, challenging a pay system that granted pay raises at higher percentage rate to workers employed less than five years. Most workers who qualified for the larger increases were under age of 40, while the claimants were all over age 40 (A.A.R.P., n.d.).

The court ruled that employees over age 40 sue under the ADEA when the company's action has a disparate impact on their age group and that company's action was not reasonable. Most importantly, the Court ruled that employees are not required to prove the company intended to discriminate against the employees in a disparate impact case (A.A.R.P., n.d.).

The Federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967

The statute that was interpreted in the above case is the Federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which prohibits discrimination against persons age 40, and over on the basis of their age (The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 1997). While federal law does not prohibit discrimination against those younger than 40 (and applies only to government employers and private companies with 20 or more employees), many states have enacted laws to include these employees.

In Florida, for example, employees have additional protection from the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992 (FCRA). While the FCRA also prohibits age discrimination as noted in the ADEA, no specific age group is specified. The FCRA forbids discrimination against any individual on the basis of age (Spero, Esq., 2000).

Employer Impact from Age Discrimination Cases

The decision was issued and became effective on March 30, 2005. This decision applies to all pending and new cases occurring after the issue date of the decision. The ruling states that workers over 40 can sue under disparate impact, meaning that while the company's policies may not specifically state age, in actuality they effect older workers. As an example, a job description that focuses on an employee being computer literate for a position that does not require computer use would be in violation of the act. (A.A.R.P., n.d.)


Older workers have the right to use disparate impact as the basis for age discrimination actions. As a result of this decision, employers need to closely monitor the employment practices used. At a minimum, the policies must be age-neutral, not provide special benefits to one age group, and ensure that the policies comply with the ADEA and other state and local age discrimination statutes.

Employment Law - Religion in the Workplace

Statutes relating to religion

Title VII as originally drafted contained broad exemptions for religious entities; however, by the time the Act was signed into law, it had lost most of its effectiveness. There are two exemptions provided for religious organizations: section 702, which affects the hiring practices of religious entities and section 703(e) (2) which allows religious educational institutions to "hire and employ employees of a particular religion." (Foltin & Standish, 2004, p. 3). While dealing with the special religious organizations' concerns, Title VII did little to give direction to employers who needed to address the questions of how to address their employees' religious practices and beliefs.

In order to clarify some of the most urgent issues, the newly formed Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) quickly acted on this situation. In 1966 the EEOC issued regulations that provided "that employers must afford accommodation unless it would cause a serious inconvenience to the conduct of business." In 1967, this regulation was further refined to read "undue hardship on the conduct of the employer's business." These regulations were quickly challenged as was the EEOC authority to issue such regulations. (Foltin & Standish, 2004, p. 3). Finally, in 1972 Congress amended Title VII adding a new section 701(j), which reads as follows:

The term "religion" includes all aspects of religious observance and practice, as well as belief, unless an employer demonstrates that he is unable to reasonably accommodate to an employee's or perspective employee's religious observance or practice without undue hardship on the conduct of the employer's business.

This still left the defining of the terminology "reasonably accommodate" and undue hardship" to the legal system.

Case Law - Trans World Airlines, Inc. v. Hardison


In this case, Larry G. Hardison was an employee with TWA working as a clerk in the Stores Department at its Kansas City base. This was an essential role in the Kansas City operation as the Stores Department must operate 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. This was also a union operation and Hardison was subject to a seniority system. Hardison was hired by TWA in June 1967 and in the spring of 1968 he began to study the religion known as the Worldwide Church of God. They observe the Sabbath from sunset on Friday until sunset on Saturday. They also proscribe work on certain religious holidays. (Trans World Airlines, Inc. v. Hardison, 1977, p. 1)

Hardison informed the manager of the Stores Department of his religious conviction. Initially accommodations were made but when Hardison applied for and received a transfer to a new position, due to union seniority and the critical nature of his position, accommodations were not possible. Once no accommodations were met, Hardison refused to report for work on Saturdays. After a hearing, Hardison was discharged on grounds of insubordination for refusing to work during his designated shift. (Trans World Airlines, Inc. v. Hardison, 1977, p. 2)

The legal battle

Hardison's legal battle began



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