Legal Cases Flashcards Preview

PHR/SPHR Certification Preparation > Legal Cases > Flashcards

Flashcards in Legal Cases Deck (60):

The Supreme Court case, where the Court addressed the issue of punitive damages authorized by the Civil Rights Act of 1991.

The Court held that the availability of punitive damages depends on the motive of the discriminator rather than the nature of the conduct.

To recover punitive damages, an employee must prove that the employer acted with malice or reckless indifference to his or her rights.

The Court did create a safe harbor from punitive damages by recognizing that an employer may not be liable for the discriminatory employment decisions of managerial agents where these decisions are contrary to the employer's good-faith efforts to comply with Title VII.

Kolstad v. American Dental Association (1999)

Module 2


Case in which Supreme Court held that the diversity of a student body is a compelling state interest that can justify the use of race in university admissions as long as the admissions policy is "narrowly tailored" to achieve this goal.

Grutter v. Bollinger (2003) - (University prevailed) and
Gratz v. Bollinger (2003) (did not make this showing)

Module 2


Precedence case that recognized adverse impact discrimination.

Employment discrimination need not be overt or intentional to be illegal.

Employment practices can be illegal even when applied to all employees.

Griggs v. Duke Power (1971)

Module 2


Case that established the criteria for disparate treatment discrimination.

The Supreme Court ruled that individuals can show a prima facie case of disparate treatment in a hiring situation if they can demonstrate that they:
- Belong to a racial minority or other protected group under Title VII.
- Applied for a job for which the employer was seeking applicants.
- Were rejected despite being qualified.
- Were rejected and yet the employer kept looking for people with their qualifications.

McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green (1973)

Module 2


Need to establish evidence that test is related to content of the job; could use job analysis to do so but not evidence from global performance ratings made by supervisors.

This ruling strengthened the principles in Griggs and placed great importance on the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures.

Albemarle Paper v. Moody (1975)

Module 2


When a test procedure is challenged under constitutional law, intent to discriminate must be established; no need to establish intent if filed under Title VII, just show effects.
To be unconstitutional (under constitutional law) racial discrimination by the government must contain two elements: a discriminatory purpose and a discriminatory impact.

Washington v. Davis (1976)

Module 2


Reverse discrimination not allowed; race, however, can be used in selection decisions; affirmative action programs permissible when prior discrimination established.
It upheld affirmative action, allowing race to be one of several factors in college admission policy. However, the court ruled that specific quotas, such as the 16 out of 100 seats set aside for minority students were impermissible.

Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978)

Module 2


Court ruling dealing with reverse discrimination charges; upheld that Title VII allows for voluntary, private, race-conscious programs aimed at eliminating racial imbalance in traditionally segregated job categories.

Supreme Court ruled that the affirmative action plan did not violate Title VII since it included voluntary quotas.

United Steelworkers v. Weber (1979)

Module 2


Supreme Court held that sexual harassment that alters an individual's terms and conditions of employment violates Title VII of Civil Rights Act.
A claim of "hostile environment" sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that is actionable under the Civil Rights Act of 1964[1] Title VII.
The Court pointed out that guidelines issued by the EEOC specified that sexual harassment leading to noneconomic injury was a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title VII.
Court also ruled that common-law principles should be applied to guide lower courts in determining employer liability. How these principles are to be applied was later defined in Faragher and Ellerth.

Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson (1986)

Module 2


Supreme Court ruled that the county was justified in giving a job to a woman who scored two points less on an exam than a man; county had an affirmative action plan that was flexible, temporary, and designed to correct the imbalance of white males in the workforce.
The Court held for the employer (even a private) arguing that an employer can take voluntary affirmative action to remedy its own prior discriminatory practices or where there is a manifest imbalance in traditionally segregated job categories, even if there is no arguable violation on its part.

Johnson v. Santa Clara County Transportation Agency (1987)

Module 2


Court ruled that persons with contagious diseases could be covered by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

School Board of Nassau v. Airline (1987)

Model 2


Supreme Court ruled that the rigid numerical quota system was unconstitutional; city had not laid proper groundwork and had not identified or documented discrimination.

City of Richmond v. J. A. Croson Company (1989)

Module 2


Supreme Court ruled that in a sexual harassment case the plaintiff does not have to prove concrete psychological harm to establish a Title VII violation.

Harris v. Forklift Systems, Inc. (1993)

Module 2


Supreme Court ruling that Title VII plaintiff must show that discrimination was the real reason for an employer's action.

The Court ruled that it is not enough for the plaintiff to prove that the employer lied. The plaintiff still has the burden of proof and must show that the lie was to cover up illegal discrimination.

St. Mary’s Honor Center v. Hicks (1993)

Module 2


District court held that a school board could not use racial diversity as an educational goal or as a justification for an affirmative action plan granting racial preference in layoffs where there was no evidence of past bias against racial minorities.

U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that “a nonremedial affirmative action plan cannot form the basis for deviating from the antidiscrimination mandate of Title VII.”

Taxman v. Board of Education of Piscataway (1993)

Module 2


Supreme Court held that evidence of misconduct acquired after the decision to terminate cannot free an employer from liability, even if the misconduct would have justified terminating the employee.
This does not mean, however, that after-acquired evidence is useless. The Court went on to state that in some cases, such evidence still may be used to cut off certain damages, including damages suffered after the prior misconduct was discovered.

McKennon v. Nashville Banner Publishing Co. (1995)

Module 2


Court rulings that distinguished between supervisor harassment that results in tangible employment action and that which does not. When harassment results in tangible employment action, the employer is liable.

Faragher v. City of Boca Raton (1998) and
Ellerth v. Burlington Northern Industries (1998)

Module 2


Ruled that same-gender harassment is actionable under Title VII.

Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Service, Inc. (1998)

Module 2


Supreme Court ruled that the federal age discrimination law does not protect younger workers - even if they are over 40 - from workplace decisions that favor older workers.

General Dynamics Land Systems, Inc. v. Cline (2004)

Module 2


Supreme Court held that in the absence of a tangible employment action, the Ellerth/Faragher affirmative defense is available in a constructive discharge claim to an employer whose supervisors are charged with harassment.
However, if a supervisor’s “official act” is what “precipitates” the constructive discharge, then the affirmative defense does not apply.

Pennsylvania State Police v. Suders (2004)

Module 2


Case in which Supreme Court held that Age Discrimination in Employment Act, like in Title VII authorizes recovery on a disparate impact theory but with narrower scope than that provided under Title VII.
(an employer need to show only that its practice or policy was based on reasonable factors other than age -a significantly lesser standard than required under Title VII)

Smith v. Jackson, Mississippi (2005)

Module 2


In this case, the Court of Appeals held that to issue a “real” offer under the ADA, an employer must have completed all nonmedical components of the application process or be able to demonstrate that it could not reasonably have done so before issuing the offer

Leonel v. American Airlines (2005)

Module 2


Supreme Court decision that held that the 180-day time limit for filing a charge under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act started after the alleged unlawful employment action and di not restart upon receipt of each successive paycheck; overruled by Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009.

Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (2007)

Module 2


Supreme Court held that employers may violate Title VII when they engage in race-conscious decision making to address adverse impact - unless they can demonstrate a "strong basis in evidence" that, had they not taken the action, they would have been liable under a disparate impact theory.

Ricci v. DeStefano (2009)

Module 2


This case demonstrated the unforeseeable business circumstances exception to WARN.

The employer was forced to lay off over 200 employees when its largest customer suddenly dropped its account. The court held that the employer had no choice but to lay its employees off and that it gave as much notice as was practicable under the circumstances.”

Gross v. Hale-Halsell Co. (2009)

Module 2


NLRB defined requirements an employer must fulfill before questioning an employee about ULP charge.

Johnnies's Poultry (1964)

Module 5


List precedent-setting sexual harassment cases.

- Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson (1986)
- Harris v. Forklift Systems, Inc. (1993)
- Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Service, Inc. (1998)
- Faragher v. City of Boca Raton (1998)
- Ellerth v. Burlington Northern Industries (1998)
- Pennsylvania State Police v. Suders (2004)


List precedent-setting reverse discrimination cases.

- Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978)
- United Steelworkers v. Weber (1979)
- Johnson v. Santa Clara County Transportation Agency (1987)
- Taxman v. Board of Education of Piscataway (1993)
- Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger (2003)
- General Dynamics Land Systems, Inc., v. Cline (2004)
- Ricci v. DeStefano (2009)


Court ruling that an employer had invaded an employee's privacy when a representative of the company met with a psychologist (to whom the employee had been referred by an employee assistance program) and questioned him about her condition.

Leggett v. First National Bank of Oregon (1987)

Module 4


Supreme Court ruled that bannering, hand-billing, or attention-getting actions outside an employer's property were permissible.

DeBartolo Corp v. Gulf Coast Trades Council (known as DeBartolo II) (1988)

Module 5


Supreme Court held that decisions about the welfare of future children must be left to the parents who conceive, bear, support, and raise them rather than to the employers who hire their parents.

Johnson Controls (1991)

Module 6


NLRB held that certain action committees were illegal "labor organizations" because management created and controlled the groups and used them to deal with employees on working conditions in violations of the NLRA.

Electromation, Inc. v. NLRB (1992)

Module 5


Board concluded that Company's six safety committees and fitness committee were employer-dominated labor organizations and that the employer dominated the formation and administration of one of them in violation of the NLRA.

E. I. Dupont & Company v. NLRB (1993)

Module 5


Supreme Court decision related to salting that held that a worker may be a company's "employee," within the terms of the National Labor Relations Act, even if, at the same time, a union pays that worker to help the union organize the company.

NLRB v. Town & Country Electric, 1995

Module 5


Case in which district court applied inevitable disclosure doctrine even though there was no noncompete agreement in place. An employee who had left his position in marketing PepsiCo's All Sport sports drink to work for Quaker Oats Company and market Gatorade and Snapple drinks was enjoined from working for Quaker because he had detailed knowledge of PepsiCo's trade secrets pertaining to pricing, market strategy, and selling/delivery systems.

PepsiCo, Inc. v. Redmond (1995)

Module 5


On June 15, 2004 NLRB ruled by a 3-2 vote that employees who work in a non-unionized workplace are not entitled to have a coworker accompany them to an interview with their employer, even if the affected employee reasonably believes that the interview might result in discipline. This decision effectively reversed the July 2000 decision of the Clinton board, which had extended employer rights to nonunion employees.

NLRB v. Weingarten, Inc. (2000 and 2004)

Module 5


NLRB decision that lifted some restrictions on the employer's use of employee participation committees.

Crown Cork and Seal Company (2001)

Module 5


Case in which Supreme Court ruled that even if there is a mandatory arbitration agreement in place, relevant civil rights agency can still sue on behalf of the employee.

EEOC v. Waffle House (2002)

Module 5


NLRB ruling that an applicant for employment must be genuinely interested in seeking to establish an employment relationship with the employer in order to be protected against hiring discrimination based on union affiliation or activity; creates greater obstacles for unions attempting salting campaigns.

Toering Electric Company (2007)

Module 5


NLRB decision that provides employers relief in salting cases by announcing a new evidentiary standard for determining the period of back pay; requires the union to provide evidence that supports the period of time it claims the salt would have been employed.

Oil Capitol Sheet Metal, Inc. (2007)

Module 5


NLRB ruling that a recognition bar, which precludes a decertification election for 12 months after an employer recognizes a union, does not apply when the recognition is voluntary, based on a card check, Overruled in 2011 in Lamons Gasket, which restored the recognition bar for voluntary recognition but revised the prohibited time period from one year to a minimum of six months up to a year.

Dana Corporation / Metaldyne Corporation (2007 and 2011)

Module 5


NLRB found that an employee grievance panel did not violate the NLRA because the purpose of the panel was not to deal with management but to improve group decisions.

Syracuse University (2007)

Module 5


Decision upheld by Supreme Court that declared that if an employer provides retiree health benefits, the health insurance benefits received by Medicare-eligible retirees be the same - or cost the same - as the health insurance benefits received by younger retirees.

Erie County Retirees Association v. County of Erie (2008)

Module 4


An application of the ERISA prudent person rule. Authorized recovery of lost plan assets in a participant's individual account. Opens employers and plan administrators to suits by participants in defined contribution retirement programs when actions constitute a breach of fiduciary duty.

LaRue v. DeWolff (2008)

Module 4


Supreme Court ruling that awarded retirement benefits to an ex-spouse even though she had agreed to disclaim such benefits, because retiree had never changed beneficiary designation on retirement plan; points out the need for retirement plan administrators to pay attention to divorcees and qualified domestic relations orders.

Kennedy v. Plan Administrators for Dupont Savings (2009)

Module 4


NRLB ruled that a system developed and operated by an association of electrical contractors violated the NLRA because it discriminated against individuals who were salts. The board held that an individual's right to be a salt is protected under the NLRA.

KenMor Electric Co., Inc. (2010)

Module 5


Supreme Court applies the "cat's paw" principle to a wrongful discharge case, finding that an employer was culpable because the HR manager did not adequately investigate supervisors' charges against the fired employee.

Staub v. Proctor (2011)

Module 5


Supreme Court ruled that some state statues restricting the enforceability of arbitration agreements in a commercial context may be preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act.

AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion (2011)

Module 5


Supreme Court refused to review a lower court decision that held in an employment case that a cost provision was severable from the balance of an arbitration agreement. The cost provision was unenforceable, but the agreement to arbitrate was enforceable.

Kepas v. Ebay (2011)

Module 5


NLRB indicated that, in non-acute health-care facilities, it will certify smaller units for bargaining unless the employer provides overwhelming proof of a community of interest.

Specialty Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center of Mobile (2011)

Module 5


NLRB re-established the successor bar doctrine, allowing unions a window of six months to one year of presumed majority support after the transfer of ownership of a business.

UGL-UNICCO Service Company (2011)

Module 5


NLRB ruled that requiring employees to agree a class action waiver as a term and condition of employment violates Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act.

D. R. Horton, Inc. (2012)

Module 5


In this case the Supreme Court ruled in that all time spent donning or doffing unique safety gear is compensable and that the FLSA requires payment to affected employees for all time spent walking between changing and production areas.

IBP, Inc., v. Alvarez (2005)

Module 4


The board’s ruling clarifies that an employer’s mere suggestion to employees that they not speak to others regarding an internal investigation (as opposed to a mandate) could interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of their Section 7 statutory rights and thereby violate Section 8(a)(1) of the NLRA.

Banner Health System d/b/a Banner Estrella Med. Ctr., (2012)

Module 5


In this case the company was ordered to revise its handbook to remove language that could violate employees’ Section 7 rights. The definition of confidentiality in the handbook was seen as overly broad (“any information concerning the company and its business plans, partners, new business efforts, customers, and accounting and financial matters”) and not including any recognition of Section 7 rights.

Cintas v. NLRB (2007)

Module 5


In this case, the board overruled Dana/Metaldyne and restored the recognition bar for voluntary recognition, beginning with the date of the recognition. The board, however, replaced the one-year rule with a bar of a minimum of six months and up to as long as one year.”

Lamons Gasket (2011)

Module 5


The 11th Circuit had found that neutrality agreements violated the LMRA because they provided a union with something of value. The employer in this case had agreed to remain neutral while the union, Unite Here, attempted to organize the workforce and had also agreed to provide the union with access to both nonpublic work areas of its property and its employees’ contact details. This arrangement unlawfully provided something of value to the union.

Mulhall v. Unite Here Local 355 (2012)

Module 5


The NLRB ordered the employer to proceed directly to bargaining because of serious ULPs during the organizing phase.

NLRB v. Gissel Packin Co, Inc. (1969)
so called "Gissel Order"

Module 5


The $192.5 million settlement agreement in this case established several policies and procedures to improve employer’s diversity efforts. An independent task force was given responsibility for monitoring the company’s progress and making recommendations that are enforceable by the court. Employer's board of directors has specific responsibility for ensuring that the company stays on track in terms of the settlement and meeting its diversity goals.

Class-action racial discrimination lawsuit against Coca-Cola (2000)

Module 2


"Strong basis in evidence"

Employer must show that had he not taken certain actions that violated Title VII, he would have been liable under a disparate impact theory.

Ricci v. DeStefano