Re: Title VII Constructive Discharge Claim (Former Employee)
It has been brought to my attention that a former employee has filed a claim against the company alleging “Constructive Discharge under the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”
Under Title VII of the Civil Rights act of 1964, employees in the US are protected in the workplace from discrimination based on race, color, ethnicity, gender or religion. Title VII also prohibits employment discrimination based on association with any race, color, ethnicity, gender or religion (The Civil Rights Act of 1964, 2013).
The issue that we are facing alleging constructive discharge to be relevant is as follows:
As a result of company growth, at the beginning of the New Year the entire production staff schedule was changed. The new production schedule required employees to work four 12- hour shifts with 4 days off. The 4 working days can occur any day of the week between Monday and Sunday unlike the previous production schedule which was Monday through Friday with Saturdays off. The office staff members’ schedules remained the same, working Monday through Friday 8:00Am to 5:00PM.
The former employee quit after the new schedule change, and filed a claim stating “Constructive Discharge” and alleging the new schedule may sometimes fall on religious holy days. While it may be true that sometimes the new schedule may fall on some religious holy days, Constructive discharge occurs when an employee quits because of intolerable working conditions.
In this case, I do not believe that this instance appears to be biased even though it appeared to have created an unbalanced and unfair work environment which would fall under the protection of “Unintentional Discrimination.” under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Additionally, the organization falls under the protection of the Title VII Civil Rights Act of 1964 “Religion law.” This law states that “A person’s religion is his or her declared or practiced faith or hearing.” The law also prohibits employers to involve religion in the workplace or application process in any way. Finally, the former employee would have to prove a prima facie case which is proof that the evidence before trial is sufficient to prove the case unless there is substantial contradictory evidence presented at trial.
I’ve included a few case scenarios below for your reference.
(1) In Tepper v Potter, the plaintiff Martin Tepper who is a Messianic Jew, was granted permission for 10 years to have Saturdays off so that he could observe his Sabbath on that day. He was also able to be absent from work on other Jewish religious holidays (PlunkettCooney, 2007). The company experienced budget constraints, thus a decrease in staffing. The decreased in staffing caused Mr. Tepper to have issues scheduling his Saturdays off. In this event, the Postal office attempted to accommodate Mr. Tepper’s beliefs by asking other employees to work on his scheduled days and dividing his workload amongst other employees (PlunkettCooney, 2007). This caused many of the employees to be upset and to complain to management saying that the practice was unfair. The Postal union met and voted to terminate Teppers accommodation. Mr. Tepper was presented with the issue and the decision and was advised that management could no longer accommodate his Saturdays without putting an extra hardship on the other employees. Mr. Tepper was also presented the option of reserving his vacation time for his Saturday absences, and allowed to take time off without pay and exchange days with the other postal workers. He responded by filing a complaint with alleging Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for failure to accommodate his religion and religious discrimination. This case was dismissed by the trial court on a motion for summary judgment. Tepper was not satisfied so he appealed the decision (PlunkettCooney,…