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Business Law: Right to Hold Union Discussions

Employees and employers interact at different levels in an organization. At some point, employees may feel the need to unite and express their concerns via unions. According to business law, employees have a legal right to hold union discussions (Beatty & Samuelson, 2019). Union efforts have been associated with emphasizing employees’ rights, which sometimes leads to unrest as workers may hold demonstrations to force management to adhere to some rules. Although union members may gather at the workplace, they should do so without inferring normal business operations. In addition, any discussions held on work premises should be authorized and in line with the workplaces’ codes of conduct.

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A company has the right to decide how employees and all other stakeholders will use its premises. In this regard, We Haul trucking company is allowed to express its opinions on union activities. Since union activities are conducted in the company’s lunchroom, non-members may feel that the meetings interfere with their work. The company’s management may also fear that continuous discussions can cause divisions among employees or the leaders could simply have a negative attitude towards such union meetings. In essence, employees have the right to voice their concerns, and management should consider such complaints.

Although a company is legally allowed to make laws regarding employee conduct at work, they should not interfere with their right to union participation. According to the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), an employer has no legal right to impede union activities unless they interfere with the company’s operations (Beatty & Samuelson, 2019). In this case, the Teamsters union is organizing its members and encouraging new drivers to join. Therefore, since the union members have done nothing to jeopardize the company’s security and its employees’ freedom, the company has no right to prohibit the meetings, and therefore, the sign is illegal.

In employment law, understanding an employee’s state and rights is crucial for healthy work relations. An at-will employee is hired of their own volition and can be fired without prior notice (as cited in Loewenstein, 2017). However, at-will employees have legal rights and are protected by the NLRA. In this case, Marcie Dutschmann is hired by FedEx in an implied contract sealed by the issuance of the employee handbook. As an agent for FedEx, Dutschmann is held accountable for any businesses she transacts for the company and can be sued for any violations. The employer reports that she falsified delivery documents, which is a legal ground for employment termination.

As an at-will employee, Dutschmann is not bound by any legal law to the company, and since she can leave at any point, no legal document was required to be signed during the recruitment process. However, she was given an employee handbook detailing that she has no contractual rights but has the right to a termination hearing if fired. In this case, the handbook creates an implied contract, which, by definition, is an assumed legal contract that does not require authorized signatures (as cited in Loewenstein, 2017). The elements of a contract present in the handbook include Dutschmann’s obligations and legal rights. Since these are the fundamental concepts handled in an employment contract, the handbook created an implied contract.

The role of a contract is to ensure that parties involved have a basis for launching their complaints in the case of a violation. The NLRA holds that employees have a right to fair treatment and are allowed to lodge their complaints about discriminatory practices. In this case, Dutschmann complained of sexual harassment in line with her work, and the company used it as a ground to fire her and impede her right to a termination hearing. According to NLRA guidelines, FedEx has no right to override the provisions of the implied contract (as cited in Loewenstein, 2017). Dutschmann can use the employee handbook to lodge a complaint against the company and seek a termination hearing.

Every employee has a right to express themselves fully without being discriminated against on cultural, sexual, or religious affiliation grounds. Peter Oiler’s sexual expressions were not interfering with his duties in any way. Besides, Peter informed his employer that he liked dressing as a woman outside work hours. According to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, employees are protected against discriminatory practices based on sexual identity and expression (Gold, 2018). An employer has legal rights only when an employee violates their terms of employment, but gender issues should not be used to hire or fire employees.

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In some cases, employers discriminate against some workers based on first impressions that are prohibited by employment law. In this case, Peter was conducting his business normally until he revealed his sexual expression to his boss. This means that the boss acted on prima facie, which denotes disparate treatment from a first-time impression (Gold, 2018). The boss’s perception of Peter’s sexual expression and its impact on customers is biased and should not be used to determine his employment status. In this case, Peter can prove that his boss acted on his idea of Peter’s sexual identity without considering his rights of identity and expression.

Employees have a claim against employees who fail to adhere to the set employment laws and regulations. The Civil Rights Act outlines an employee’s rights and responsibilities and gives workers the right to complain against unfair treatment. This case relates to a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act on gender discrimination (Gold, 2018). Therefore, since the case can be proven and has been explicitly defined by the relevant labor law, Peter should file a lawsuit against Winn-Dixie stores. Sexual identity is a personal matter, and employees can choose to keep it secret or express themselves freely. When recruiting, employers should refrain from following up on individuals’ gender and sexuality, and no such reference should be made when terminating an employment contract.

Employees’ physical, mental, and psychological well-being is crucial for efficient operations. According to the Americans with Disability Act (ADA), an employee can be considered disabled when they have a health condition that limits them from working effectively under normal employment conditions (Collins et al., 2019). Apnea is a disorder that, according to Ryan, prevents him from concentrating at work. This condition fits the definition of a disability and should therefore be considered when deciding whether to retain or fire Ryan. According to ADA, employees diagnosed with disabilities should be given preferential treatment without being unfairly treated by employers or fellow employees (Collins et al., 2019). This is, therefore, a sensitive issue that requires careful consideration.

According to the information given, Ryan has not been medically confirmed to be suffering from Apnea. This implies that although Ryan has a valid case, further investigation is required to verify whether the case is genuine. According to ADA and Civil Rights Act, Ryan’s employer has a legal right to pursue a further inquiry into the matter (Collins et al., 2019). For legal procedures to be followed in employment termination, all the relevant details must be given. Proceeding without all the information will be considered negligent and a violation of employment laws. The employer is allowed to order Ryan to take medical tests and present the results for evaluation. In addition, the employer can choose a qualified medical professional to conduct the tests. This is primarily because Ryan’s behavior at work can be associated with poor sleeping habits or poor diet. All these factors should be verified, and the employer should follow the ADA law and make an informed decision.

A medical examination is crucial in employment relations as it enables employers to make provisions for persons with disabilities. As employee behavior changes considerably with time, psychologists should be hired to determine the reasons behind certain conditions. Ryan’s condition necessitates the involvement of a psychologist to assess whether his problem arises from personal behavior or is outside his control. The psychologist may not need to conduct any medical tests but can interact with Ryan at a personal level to evaluate his condition. If the case is proven genuine, the employer should design flexible work schedules to help Ryan undertake his duties optimally (Collins et al., 2019). In essence, the employer would be ethical in ordering the tests and should not fire Ryan unless the results indicate that he was engaged in bad habits that interfered with his concentration at work.

References

Beatty, J., & Samuelson, S. (2019). Introduction to business law (6th ed.). Cengage.

Collins, H., Ewing, K., & McColgan, A. (2019). Labour law (2nd ed). Cambridge University Press.

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Gold, M. E. (2018). Introduction to the law of employment discrimination (2nd ed). Cornell University Press.

Loewenstein, M. J. (2017). Agency law and the new economy. The Business Lawyer, 72(4), 1009–1046. Web.

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