Discussion Questions 1.) Doris was an employee in a bank’s Demand Services Department. She suffered from dysthymia, a form of depression, along with phobia and bouts of more intense depression. Over several years she was absent from work on a relatively frequent basis. The employer discharged her after continuing absences following two periods of probation for absences from work. She was discharged the day after she had called in that she would be absent because of “depression again.” Should Doris’s condition be considered a “disability?” If so, what, if any, accommodations could have been made for Ms. Doris? Do you believe her discharge violates the ADA? 2.) What are the benefits of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993? How do these benefits relate to other types of employment leaves? Might the provisions of the act be abused? Explain why or why not. How might employers prevent abuses? Please provide real-life examples. 3.) An employer is concerned that her workplace has only a few African Americans, Hispanics and women in upper-level management and skilled labor jobs. Most unskilled labor and clerical positions are held by women and minorities. Employer decides to institute a program which will increase the numbers of minorities and women in management and skilled labor positions. Is this permissible? Do you have all relevant facts needed to decide? Consider the result in United Steel Workers of America, AFL-CIO v. Weber, 443 U.S. 193 (1979) article. Answer each question in at least 150.
Doris’s condition can be considered a “disability” under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) if it substantially limits one or more major life activities. Major life activities include things like working, sleeping, and interacting with others. Based on the information given, it seems likely that Doris’s depression and phobia could substantially limit her ability to work, which would qualify her condition as a disability under the ADA.
If Doris’s condition is considered a disability, her employer would be required to make reasonable accommodations for her, such as a modified work schedule or a leave of absence. The specific accommodations would depend on the nature of Doris’s condition and how it affects her ability to work.
It is possible that Doris’s discharge violates the ADA if her employer failed to provide reasonable accommodations or if the decision to discharge her was based solely on her disability. However, more information would be needed to make a definitive determination.
The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 provides eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year for certain family and medical reasons. The benefits of FMLA include job protection, continuation of health benefits, and the ability to take time off work to care for a new child, a seriously ill family member, or one’s own serious health condition.
FMLA benefits are designed to balance the needs of employees with the demands of employers. Other types of employment leaves, such as sick leave or vacation time, may provide similar benefits, but may not offer the same job protection or duration of time off.
While it is possible for the provisions of the FMLA to be abused, employers can take steps to prevent such abuse. This includes carefully tracking employee leave time and requiring medical certification for serious health conditions.
One real-life example of FMLA abuse might be an employee who takes FMLA leave for a non-serious health condition or who takes FMLA leave without actually needing time off work. Employers can prevent this type of abuse by requiring medical certification and periodically reviewing employee leave usage.
The employer’s decision to increase the numbers of minorities and women in management and skilled labor positions is permissible under certain circumstances. The United Steel Workers of America, AFL-CIO v. Weber case established that affirmative action programs designed to remedy past discrimination are legal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as long as they do not create an absolute bar to hiring or advancement for non-minorities or non-women.
However, the specifics of the employer’s program would need to be carefully evaluated to determine whether it is legal under Title VII. For example, the program must be narrowly tailored to achieve its goal of increasing diversity and cannot use quotas or preferences that create a reverse form of discrimination.
In summary, the employer’s program to increase the numbers of minorities and women in management and skilled labor positions may be permissible, but the specifics of the program would need to be carefully evaluated to ensure compliance with Title VII.