HRMD 620 Case Analysis-Why is the attorney talking about the NLRA?

HRMD 620

Exam #1

Fall 2019

 

 

Student’s Answer Sheet

 

 

Name: ____________________________________________________________________

 

 

Part A – Factual Check  (20% of the test; 2 points each)

 

1. 6.
2. 7.
3. 8.
4. 9.
5. 10.

 

 

Part B – Case Analysis (18% of the test; 3 points each)

 

1. 4.
2. 5.
3. 6.

 

 

 

Part C  – Case Analysis – Real Estate (62% of the test)

 

See the exam for the complete information.

In preparation for the meeting, the CEO asks the HR Director for a briefing on each case.  She wants to know:

  • We don’t have a union.  Why is the attorney talking about the NLRA?
  • The two workers bad-mouthed the company on Facebook, right?  How does that relate to the NLRA?  What are the legal criteria in the NLRA?
  • If the NLRB pursues this, what will be the company’s legal argument(s) to justify each termination?
  • What will each employee argue?
  • Are we likely to win? What should I tell the attorney when I meet with him?

 

After reviewing the facts, explain what the company’s decision should be for each case.  Also explain any remedies that are needed.  Be sure to identify the legal concepts involved and use details from the case to show evidence in support of your position.  Please limit your analysis to 2-3 double-spaced pages, total for both cases.  Use APA for in-text citations and end references. 

 

 

Instructions:   Each class is likely to be different.  If you assume you know what is required, you may make a mistake that can be avoided just by reading the instructions.

 

  • Post your Answer Sheet in your individual assignment folder by the due date listed in the Course Schedule.  Please post on time to avoid the 5% per day late penalty required by departmental policy.  Remember the late window begins at 12:00 a.m. the next day.  Please don’t ask me after the deadline to waive a late penalty.  If you’re having a problem that matches the criteria in the grading policy, contact me before the deadline.  I help when I can. (See the Grading Information in the syllabus.)

 

  • Please work alone; this is not a group assignment.

 

  • Do not use any work that has been submitted to a previous class.  (See the Grading Information in the syllabus.  This is also part of the Academic Integrity pledge you signed.)

 

  • Do not use a cover sheet.  Just be sure your name is on the Answer Sheet.   The blank Answer Sheet is in the Course Content area, in the same place as the exam. 

 

  • Remember to use a Word .doc  or .docx  file format to ensure I can open your work.  (See the Grading Information in the syllabus.)

 

  • Please do not retype the information or annotate your multiple-choice response.  Any confusion in the answer will be interpreted as an error. Just list the response by the number on the Answer Sheet.

 

  • Please do use APA to reference your essay/case response. Create a reference list at the end and use the (author, year) format within the text; or, if it is a direct quote, the (author, year, page number) format.  Please do not start a new page only for the reference list; just space down after your last response.

 

  • Please realize that I cannot answer questions that are actually part of the test itself.  That violates testing methodology.  I can address “administrative type” questions. Post questions to the Exam 1 discussion area (vs. email) so everyone will have the same information.

 

  • Please be sure you have submitted the document you intended.  Double-check by opening your document in your folder after you’ve submitted it.     

 

 

Tips for Success

 

Be sure you have answered all the questions.  From time to time, I see students number incorrectly or omit questions.

 

Allow sufficient time to think, revise, and think again about your answers before producing the final document.  As soon as you have the exam, read what is needed.  During the week, think about how to answer the questions.  Jot down ideas to consider.  Create an outline of the content you want to include in the written portion.  Then, assemble the parts into a coherent response.

 

Use the free writing support tools that are accessed via the classroom.  Allow enough time for the writing tutors to assist.  Access to that service is in the Content area.

 

Part A – Knowledge Check  (20% of the test; 2 points each)

 

  1. T or F: The National Labor Relations Act applies to non-union companies.

 

  1. T or F: As the primary union in the U.S., the key function of the AFL-CIO is to negotiate contracts.

 

  1. T or F: The Mainstream Economics school of thought about labor relations relies on free-market competition to determine the price of labor; and, as such, sees unions as interference in that process.

 

  1. T of F: The Wagner Act governs labor relations for United Airlines.

 

  1. T or F: Unions seek to give equity and voice a place in decisions that might otherwise be driven by efficiency.

 

  1. T or F: The Haymarket Tragedy was part of the struggle for an 8-hour workday.

 

  1. T or F: In the U.S., the default policy for the employment relationship is the employment-at-will doctrine; but, federal policy also encourages the use of collective bargaining which limits it.

 

  1. T or F: Overall union density has decreased since the 1970s because the private sector

     growth has increased while the public sector membership has declined.

 

  1. T or F:  Current U.S. labor law is based on the assumption that a balance between

       management’s and labor’s power benefits society in general.

 

  1. T or F: Property rights are a major basis for management’s authority and control.

 

 

Part B – Case Analysis (18% of the test; 3 points each)

 

  1. Earl’s supervisor instructed him to write the monthly report for the county government’s Agency for Municipal Parks. Feeling overworked, he complained to Matt, a peer with the same job classification. Earl remarked that this was beyond the scope of his job description. Matt agreed.  He said that funding for the county’s public parks programs was cut in the last election, so everyone was being asked to double-up on responsibilities.  Earl suggested calling a meeting of all the Assistants in the department to see what could be done.

 

T or F:   The concerted activity provision of NLRA Section 7 would protect this group of Assistants if they encountered retaliation for challenging the supervisor’s direction.

 

  1. Six workers in a retail store were in the break room discussing the raise they expected to receive next month. They noted that it was not as much as last year’s raise.  They wondered how they could request an increase and agreed to work together to find a way.  They lowered their voices when the HR Director came in for a cup of coffee because discussing people’s compensation was against company policy.

 

Two weeks later, the 6 workers were terminated.  They were the only employees to be let go.  They were surprised and began to compare notes.  They knocked on the HR Director’s door to ask for an explanation.  The HR Director explained that the company appreciated their contributions but reminded them that, as they acknowledged when they were hired, their employment was at-will.  That meant the company did not need to give a reason and there was nothing more to be done.

 

T or F:    The HR Director’s explanation that the state’s employment-at-will doctrine will be the legal framework to govern this scenario was correct.

 

  1. Erin and 3 of her co-workers have a standard set of lotto numbers that they collectively play each week. If they ever match the winning ticket, they will split the money.

On her Facebook page, Erin posts that she can’t wait to win so she can quit work.  The   others respond in agreement.

 

T or F:  If management fired them for gambling at work, the NLRA Section 7 concerted activity provision would protect this group.

 

 

  1. When the manager of business operations told Paula that she had to work on the night shift at the retail store for the next few months, she left him a note saying this was unfair and she would not do it. The manager called her the next day to see why she objected.  Paula said she did not have someone to look after her child at night.  The manager replied that she was the last one to be hired and she would have to make arrangements to do it.  Paula said this was discrimination, and the discussion became heated.  The manager fired her.

 

T or F:  If Paula filed a complaint under the NLRA, the Section 7 concerted activity provision would protect her.

 

  1. When the owner of an urgent care company announced to his staff of 10 that he would immediately cut wages by 10% to save the business from bankruptcy, employees were stunned and unhappy.  After several conversations, they decided to write a joint, anonymous, respectful letter to express staff concerns and offer alternatives for saving

money, such as eliminating the employer match to the 401K fund.  The letter was written by the center’s physician’s assistant and edited by its radiation technologist. It was then left unsigned on the doctor’s desk.  During the next few weeks, the owner met with individual employees in an attempt to learn who wrote the letter,

and the atmosphere became increasingly tense. He accused several employees of whispering and cliquish behavior, and repeatedly complained of “toxic talk” and negativity”.  A little over three weeks after the letter was delivered, the technologist was fired.  The owner then learned by examining the technologist’s work emails that the physician’s assistant had written the letter. The next day, she was fired as well.

 

T or F:  The letter meets the legal criteria for a concerted activity.

 

  1. Brittney transferred to HR a couple months ago from an assistant’s position in the marketing department. Her first major assignment has been to update the employee handbook.  She has been gathering examples from other organizations to copy into her draft.  Here is one she is recommending because it seems clear and specific.  It easy to understand.

 

Unauthorized Interviews: As a means of protecting yourself and the company, no unauthorized interviews are permitted to be conducted by individuals representing themselves as attorneys, peace officers, investigators, reporters, union representatives, or someone who wants to “ask a few questions.” If you are asked questions about the company or its current or former employees, you are not permitted to speak as a representative of the company. Please refer that individual(s) to your supervisor. A decision will then be made as to whether that individual may conduct any interview and they will be introduced to you by your supervisor with a reason for the questioning. Similarly, if you are aware that an unauthorized interview is occurring at the company, immediately notify your supervisor.

 

                T or F:  Having this rule is illegal under the June, 2018 NLRB’s guidelines.

 

 

 

 

Part C:  Case Analysis – Real Estate (62% of the test score)

Tuesday morning, the Chief Executive Officer for Jackson Miller Properties inspected her daily mail.  In it was a letter from Attorney Malik Davis, a well-known local lawyer specializing in employment law.  He is writing on behalf of two clients:  Mr. Matt Evans and Ms. Jennifer Dawson.  He requests a meeting to see if satisfactory arrangements can be made for these two terminated employees before they file charges with the NLRB, saying they were terminated unlawfully.  Section 8(a)1 will be cited for the violation.*  In preparation for the meeting, the CEO asks the HR Director for a briefing on each case.  She wants to know:

  • We don’t have a union.  Why is the attorney talking about the NLRA?
  • The two workers bad-mouthed the company on Facebook, right?  How does that relate to the NLRA?  What are the legal criteria in the NLRA?
  • If the NLRB pursues this, what will be the company’s legal argument(s) to justify each termination?
  • What will each employee argue?
  • Are we likely to win? What should I tell the attorney when I meet with him?

 

After reviewing the facts, explain what the company’s decision should be for each case.  Also explain any remedies that are needed.  Be sure to identify the legal concepts involved and use details from the case to show evidence in support of your position.  Please limit your analysis to 2-3 double-spaced pages, total for both cases.  Use APA for in-text citations and end references. 

*This is a simplification of how it would be filed, but it should help you do the analysis.

 

 

 

 

Employee Handbook

Section 5:  Employment at Will

Employment is on an at-will basis.  A written contract, signed by the CEO of the company, is needed to change that status.

Section 8:  Courtesy Policy

Courtesy is the responsibility of every employee. Everyone is expected to be courteous, polite and friendly to our customers, vendors and suppliers, as well as to their fellow employees. No one should be disrespectful or use profanity or any other language which injures the image or reputation of the company.

 

 

 

 

Employee Performance Record

Disciplinary Report

 

Employee Name:  Mr. Matt Evans

Employee ID:  47958

Position:  Sales Representative

1.       Date:  2/22/19 2.       Supervisor:  Mr. Jack Bolden
3.      Type of Disciplinary Action:

(1)    _____Verbal Warning

(2)    _____Written Warning

(3)    _____Suspension

(4)    __x__ Termination

 

 

4.       Occurrence:

(1)   __x___ Initial

(2)   _____ Repeat

5.       Related Provisions:  Employee Handbook — Sections 5 (at-will) and 8 (courtesy policy) – See attached.
6.       Related Evidence:  Facebook postings — (See attached.)
7.       Description of Behavior:  Mr. Evans posted disparaging comments about the company on Facebook.  He mocked the provisions of the promotional sales event held on 2/16/19.
8.      Actions

Date:  2/21/19, 4:30 p.m. – Disciplinary interview in HR office

Participants:  Mr. Evans, employee; Mr. Bolden, supervisor; Ms. Buthel, HR Director

 

Ms. Buthel showed the Facebook postings to Mr. Evans and confirmed that he posted them.  Mr. Evans argued that they were on his personal account and “not anyone’s business.”  Mr. Bolden reminded him that disparaging remarks are against company policy, to which Mr. Evans said, “So the truth is offensive, right?”  Mr. Bolden replied that the provisions are not Mr. Evans’ responsibility.  Ms. Buthel asked Mr. Evans if there was anything more he would like to say about the postings.  He declined.

 

Date:  2/22/19, 9:30 a.m. — Ms. Buthel informed Mr. Evans in person and in writing that his employment was terminated, effective immediately.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Receipt of Employee Handbook  

I have received the Employee Handbook.  I understand that management may change it and that it is my responsibility to stay current with the provisions.

 

I understand that I am an at-will employee and that no company communication shall change that status.  The company may terminate me without reason at any time, and I can terminate my employment at any time.  I understand that only the CEO has authority to change the employment-at-will status.  Such a change must be in writing and officially signed by the company.

 

 

 

____Matt Evans_____________________

Employee’s Name in Print

 

 

____Matt Evans___________

Employee’s Signature

 

_____3/6/17__________________

Date Signed by Employee

 

 

TO BE PLACED IN EMPLOYEE’S PERSONNEL FILE

 

 

Facebook Postings

The title of the 2/16/19 posting is “Why my commission is so low!”  On the first page, Matt posted:

How can I earn a decent living when they “promote” an upscale development like Seaside Estates with paper plates, plastic forks, and bottled water!”  The units are really nice—wouldn’t mind having one myself, but the brochures look as cheap as our faded, write-your-own-name business cards.  (They don’t print our names because people don’t stay.)  When I told them this in a staff meeting, my boss flashed me another dirty look.  Other sales reps echoed the concern.  I asked how we can get the PR materials changed, but Warden Bolden just snarled, “I think there is an opening in the marketing department, Mr. Evans.  Or, maybe you’d like selling for Rockland Enterprises instead.”  I didn’t get any leads from this event.  I’ve about had it with this place.  It sucks!

 

Following his post were comments from family and friends, a few of whom are co-workers.  “Sounds awful!”  “Hope it gets better!”  “Maybe Bolden is the one who needs to go!”  “I’m with you on that!”

 

 

 

 

Employee Performance Record

Disciplinary Report

 

Employee Name:  Ms. Jennifer Dawson

Employee ID:  36820

Position:  Sales Representative

 

9.       Date:  3/29/19 10.   Supervisor:  Mr. Jack Bolden
11.  Type of Disciplinary Action:

(1)    _____ Verbal Warning

(2)    _____ Written Warning

(3)    _____Suspension

(4)    __x__ Termination

 

 

12.   Occurrence:

(1)   __x___ Initial

(3)   _____ Repeat

13.   Related Provisions:  Employee Handbook — Sections 5 (at-will) and 8 (courtesy policy) – See attached.
14.   Related Evidence:  Facebook postings — (See attached.)
15.   Description of Behavior:  Ms. Dawson posted disparaging comments about another division of the company on Facebook.  She mocked the accident at the Bridgestone site, which handles commercial buildings, on 3/15/19.
16.  Actions

Date:  3/27/19, 4:30 p.m. – Disciplinary interview in HR office

Participants:  Ms. Dawson, employee; Mr. Bolden, supervisor; Ms. Buthel, HR Director

 

Ms. Buthel showed the Facebook postings to Ms. Dawson and confirmed that she posted them.  Ms. Dawson argued that they were on her personal account and did not represent an official statement.  Mr. Bolden reminded her that disparaging remarks are against company policy.  Further, he reported that he had had several negative calls from competitors and suppliers about the postings.  Ms. Dawson apologized.  Ms. Buthel asked Ms. Dawson if there was anything more she would like to say about the postings.  She declined.

 

Date:  3/29/19, 9:30 a.m. — Ms. Buthel informed Ms. Dawson in person and in writing that her employment was terminated, effective immediately.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Receipt of Employee Handbook  

I have received the Employee Handbook.  I understand that management may change it and that it is my responsibility to stay current with the provisions.

 

I understand that I am an at-will employee and that no company communication shall change that status.  The company may terminate me without reason at any time, and I can terminate my employment at any time.  I understand that only the CEO has authority to change the employment-at-will status.  Such a change must be in writing and officially signed by the company.

 

 

 

____Jennifer Dawson_____________________

Employee’s Name in Print

 

 

____Jennifer Dawson___________

Employee’s Signature

 

_____8/6/16__________________

Date Signed by Employee

 

 

TO BE PLACED IN EMPLOYEE’S PERSONNEL FILE

 

Facebook Postings

The title of the 3/16/19 posting is:  “A slam dunk!”  On the first page, Jennifer posted:

Did you hear the newest way to impress a customer?  The Sales Manager at JM – Bridgestone Commercial Division was escorting a prospective client for the vacant shop in the complex east of town.  He took the buyer to the shop by golf cart, part of the quaint atmosphere in that community.  When he rounded the pond in front of the store, he took the curve too fast and–plop! He threw his client into the mud!  Her briefcase fastballed to the water’s edge, hovered a second, then drown out of sight.

Following her post were comments from family, friends, and colleagues from previous jobs in the industry.  “I hope she wasn’t hurt.”  “What happened to Speedy?”  “Isn’t that just standard operating procedure for that crew?”  “Remind me never to ride with him!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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