Chap020Cases

The Legal and Regulatory Environment of Business

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Case 20 Case 20-1 (Chapter 20, p. 599) ONCALE v. SUNDOWNER OFFSHORE SERVICES, INC. 523 U.S. 75 (1998) FACTS: Joseph Oncale worked for Sundowners as an offshore oil platform roustabout. On several occasions he was subjected to sex-related, humiliating actions by fellow employees and a supervisor, including physical assaults and threats of rape. When complaints to higher supervisors produced no remedial action, Oncale quit and sued under Title VII for sexual harassment. ISSUE: Can same-sex harassment constitute illegal employment discrimination? DECISION: No. REASONS: 1. Harassing conduct need not be motivated by sexual desire to constitute illegal discrimination. 2. Nothing in Title VII bars a claim of sexual discrimination merely because the plaintiff and defendant are of the same sex. 3. Title VII is not a general civility code. Discrimination must be “severe and pervasive.” Case 20-1
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Case 20 Case 20-2 (Chapter 20, p. 612) U.S. AIRWAYS, INC. v. BARNETT 535 U.S. 391 (2002) FACTS: Robert Barnett, a cargo handler for U.S. Airways, injured his back and
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Unformatted text preview: became disabled. He transferred to a less physically demanding job in the mailroom, but when his new job became open to “employee bidding” under the company’s seniority system and other employees senior to him planned to bid on his job, he requested “accommodation.” He wanted to keep his job without allowing senior employees to get it from him by bidding on it. When U.S. Airways refused this accommodation, Barnett sued. ISSUE: Was this requested accommodation “reasonable” under the Americans With Disabilities Act? DECISION: No. REASONS: 1. Seniority systems provide important employee benefits of fair, uniform treatment. 2. To require the employer to show more than the existence of a seniority system might undermine employee expectations of such treatment. 3. The plaintiff remains free to show that employees did not expect such treatment under this particular plan and thus the requested accommodation would be reasonable. Case 20-2...
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Chap020Cases - became disabled. He transferred to a less...

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