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Employment Law

LA355 Spring 2014

Professor Judy Kalisker
Office: 515B, M 9:30-10:30, Th 2:15-3:15

Course Resources
Text specially prepared combining two texts
Additional Readings posted on SMGTools or
link in syllabus
office hours on title slide or call to make appointment
I am at school at some point every M-Th)
Each other
Poll Everywhere

To respond to a poll:
1. Text the answer to 37607
2. Log in to
Your Responsibilities
Be prepared for class.
Readings due on the day noted on Syllabus
Quizzes occasionally in class
Group project towards end of semester
Ask questions
Be engaged in class
Be prepared for tests

Your Assignments
Brief written assignments as posted/emailed
Quizzes via Poll Everywhere
2 exams (including final)
Multiple choice and short answer
Closed Book
Final exam is cumulative
Case Brief due February 6 (A-K) or February 20 (L-Z)
Paper (to be assigned) due April 6
Group Project presentations (April 22, 29)
Course Participation
In class
In office hours
Ground Rules
Be on time.
Show up and be engaged.
Use technology for class purposes only (taking notes, quizzes)
Or lose points.
Or lose right to use technology.
If you have to leave the room during class please keep it brief
Dont cheat.
That includes plagiarism. Cite if you use a source!
No collaboration with other students, friends, family, or other
professors, on any written assignments or tests unless I say so.
Dont lie.
If you cant fulfill one of your responsibilities, be honest and
make an alternative plan.
Have fun!

Things to Notice When Reading a Case
What court?
What year?
Civil or Criminal?
Who are the parties? (lawyers are not parties)
What question is the judge trying to answer? Often starts with whether.
How did the judge answer that question?
Why did the judge answer the question that way?
Issues of fact versus issues of law. Judges can only decide issues of
What employer policies are at issue?

Class participation, quizzes, attendance:
Exams: 40%
Midterm 20%
Final 20%
One case brief: 10%
Individual Paper: 15%
Group Project: 15%

Questions on Logistics?
What is Employment Law?
Divide into groups of 3-4 people
Discuss the following:
1. Who in an organization needs to be aware of
employment law issues?
2. What jobs have you held?
3. What employment laws have you encountered in
jobs you have held (your own rights as an employee or
requirements your employer had to follow)?

Agency Law
Legal principle where one person becomes
responsible for the act(s) of another person
In employment law, this comes into play when an
individual tries to make the company liable for
the wrongful act(s) of an employee of the
company. This could be:
Vicarious liability the general concept of holding a person
(individual, corporation, organization) liable for something that
another person did
in most situations a plaintiff has to prove if the defendant is not directly
liable that the person who did the unlawful conduct had the actual
(bestowed by the defendant) or apparent (plaintiff reasonably
believed) authority to engage in the conduct/authorize the transaction,
In some cases due to the nature of the agency relationship the law will
say that the defendant is strictly (i.e. automatically) liable for the
conduct of the person who engaged in the conduct (e.g., harassment by
a supervisor)
Liability for Employees Acts
Vicarious liability examples
If a plaintiff can show all of the elements of a sexual harassment claim (sexual
conduct in the workplace that is pervasive and creates an uncomfortable work
environment), the employer will only be liable if the employer knew or should have
known about the conduct and failed to take prompt, effective action to address it.
In Massachusetts (and several other states), if the elements of sexual harassment
are proven and the conduct was committed by an individual to whom the employer
had assigned the responsibility to supervise at least one employee (which does not
have to be the plaintiff), then the employer will be strictly liable for the harassment.
In other words, the employer cannot avoid vicarious liability for unlawful, harassing
conduct of a supervisor even if the employer took action to address the conduct
once informed of it.
In contrast, under federal law, an employer can avoid vicarious liability for the
unlawful, harassing conduct of a supervisor if it can prove that it did certain things,
such as teach supervisors that this conduct is inappropriate, investigate every
allegation of harassment internally and take prompt, responsive action.
Divide into 3 groups
Group 1 Cooley case
You are HR for the company and your company just paid money
to settle this case. What policies do you want to implement to
try and avoid liability for this type of thing in the future?
Group 2 Walgreens Video
How strong do you think the employees case is against
Walgreens for wrongful termination and why?
Group 3 Rendon Kidney donation
Should companies have to give employees as much time
off as they need for medical issues? Is this a legal issue or
an ethical issue or both?