Cases Overview Examples

Date:  2021-03-23 11:34:46
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Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins 490 U.S. 288 (1989)

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The case was between petitioner, Price Waterhouse and respondent, Ann B. Hopkins. Ann had worked for Price Waterhouse for five years, and she was proposed for partnership in 1982. Her candidacy was not considered and the following year her partners denied her for partnership hence the reason for suing them under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in Federal District Courts. She felt that she had been discriminated because of her gender. Pricewater house said that Ann was liable to be a partner however she had issues in her outward appearance and interpersonal relations.

Did the decision of Pricewater House to deny Ann partnership have a legitimate base or was it a violation of Title VII. The Court of Appeal and the Federal District Court heard the case and held that an employer who has made a discriminatory act should prove to the court that he or she could have made the same decision without discriminating others. The matter was taken to the Supreme Court after the two courts could not agree on the extent of proof required to show that there was gender discrimination against Ann. The Supreme Court ruled that the company had discriminated against Ann when it was unable to prove that its decision was genuine and could happen even to a male employee.

The ruling was fair because Pricewater House was asked to prove that their decision did not have gender discrimination but they did not manage to. Ann had equal rights as any other employee in the company hence she had the right to be treated and offered partnership the same way as the other male employees. Therefore, she won the case on fair grounds.

The city of Los Angeles v. Manhart 435 U.S 702 (1978)

The case involved the petitioner, City of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the respondent, Marie Manhart among others. Some female employees sued the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power because they had been coerced to contribute more to the employee pension plan than the male employees did. According to the department, women live more than men hence they were supposed to pay more. It was, however, constraining for the women because the contribution was drawn from their salaries and hence they would take less money back home than men.

Was the company liable to charge female employees more than it charged the men? The company had violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964 according to the women, and they sought an order to stop the department from of future payments as well as amend the past contributions made. As the court ruling was pending, a law was passed by the California legislature to prohibit companies from making women contribute more than men forcefully. The district court later found the company guilty of its actions by violating the Civil Rights Act and ordered the company to refund the excess payment made by the female employees. The company had based its policy on aggregate numbers and neglected individual rights of each employee, and there are different factors that lead to longevity hence considering gender factor only was not a fair ruling for the women.

The court ruling was fair. Women and men have equal rights, and none of the genders should be discriminated both at work and in society because of their gender. The department had also violated Title VII where no employee should be discriminated on gender factor, and the women needed to have fair treatment as the male employees.

Harris V. Forklift Systems, Inc. 510 U.S 17 (1993)

The case is between Teresa Harris, the petitioner and the respondent, Forklift Systems, Inc. Teresa had been sexually harassed by the employer, and she filed suit with the claim of harassment in federal district court. The employer used offensive, vulgar and abusive sexual comments and acts on Harris. Her claim was a violation of the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 on the existence of an abusive work surrounding. Title VII stated that an employer should not discriminate employees on race, religion, sex or natural origin. Teresa claimed that the harassment was severe that it impaired her ability to work and affected her psychologically hence there was no conducive environment to work. The employer, on the other hand, said that Teresas harassment was not extreme that it would affect her in any way and was not a violation of Title VII.

Had the employer violated Title VII? The Federal District Court and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals argued that the employers behavior was offensive but did not make Teresas work environment hostile, and it was ruled for Forklift Systems. The case was later taken to the U.S Supreme Court, and the court claimed that subjective and objective dimensions are required to rule a case as having a violation of hostile-environment. The court said that conditions such as the severity and frequency of the conduct, whether the act was only offensive comments or physically threatening and if it interfered with the performance of the employee. Teresa had not been physically abused and hence Forklift Systems won the case. The ruling was not fair enough to Teresa. Any person can be psychologically affected by such acts from an employer and hence the court should not have to find a proof for any psychological I jury to claim that it was a violation of Title VII.

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