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Discussion: Employment Law (200-300words) This week’s discussion on the topic of employment law is a little different.  The idea is to watch an episode of the American version of The Office and identify a legal issue related to employment law (Title VII, sexual harassment, ADA, ADEA, etc).  I find The Office not only a very entertaining television program but also a source for legal issues that could arise in an employment setting.  Therefore when undertaking the assignment provide the fact pattern which you identified in the episode and then analyze the situation using the IRAC method which we have used for the discussions in this course.  The Office may still be in syndication on a few television channels and many of the episodes may be seen on NBC.com.  Additionally NetFlix and Amazon subscribers will find it in those platforms, “canistream.it” is a way to look for availability and most public libraries should have multiple seasons available.  I am sure that there are other ways to view the show as well.  In the first portion of your discussion provide the fact pattern to a degree that other students who may not be familiar with the scenario will be able to provide comments to your post.

Below is an example I put together from an episode of the show – this scenario would correspond to Chapter Twenty Two in our text, which we are not covering this term.  From the fact pattern I put together 2 IRAC analyses.  You only need to do 1.  I have seen every episode of The Office a number of times, so do not try and make something up, I will know.

THE OFFICE SCENARIO:  The workers in the warehouse of Dunder-Mifflin were considering forming a union.  Jan Levinson, an executive of the Dunder-Mifflin, a member of management, informed the employees, who were considering forming a union, that they should take into consideration what happened at another Dunder-Mifflin branch which formed a union.  That branch was shut down, implying that the employees all lost their jobs.

ISSUE (1):  What procedures must the employees follow to form a union?

RULE (1):  To form a union, organizers distribute authorization cards to the employees.  If a majority of the cards approve union representation, the employer may voluntarily certify the union.  Once a union is certified, the employer must bargain with the union regarding employment terms and conditions.

If the Employer does not voluntarily certify the union, union organizers can petition the NLRB for an election.  To authorize an election, a minimum of 30% of employees must support a union or an election on unionization and there must be an appropriate bargaining unit, consisting of employees that share a mutuality of interest.

APPLICATION/CONCLUSION (1):  If 50% or more of the warehouse workers state on their authorization cards that they want to be represented by a union, the organizer (let us say Darrel) may submit said results to Dunder-Mifflin for certification.  Dunder-Mifflin may choose to certify the union.

If Dunder-Mifflin does not recognize the authorization cards, then Darrel may petition the NLRB for an election.  If Darrel can demonstrate a minimum of 30% of the warehouse workers support a union and an appropriate bargaining union exists, the NLRB most likely will authorize an election.  Considering that the warehouse workers have a mutuality of interest:  they are all located in one location in Scranton, PA and their respective jobs are similar in nature, I believe the requirements for an NLRB election are met.  If a majority of the warehouse workers vote in favor, the union is certified and Dunder-Mifflin would be required to negotiate with the union rather than individual employees.

ISSUE (2):  Did Jan, as a member of management, commit an unfair labor practice by threatening the employees should they form a union?

RULE (2):  Considered unfair labor practices, under the NLRA, and deemed illegal activities, are employer’s actions that adversely affect the employees’ right to unionize and bargain collectively.  Though an employer may campaign against the formation of a union at its work place, an employer may not interfere with employees’ activities to form a union or threaten employees’ decision to join a union.

APPLICATION/CONCLUSION (2):  Pursuant to a case covered in the text a member of management informed employees forming a union that they (the employees) should read everything carefully before deciding to vote for a union and also told these same employees that the union does not always live up to its promises.  In that case, the court found the employer did not interfere or threaten the employees when deciding whether to have union representation.  In contrast, I feel that Jan’s actions go further than the aforementioned case.  In my opinion Jan’s comments that another branch shut down because the employees chose to form a union is a direct threat, implying that if the warehouse workers at Dunder-Mifflin, Scranton form a union their jobs will be eliminated, obviously impacting the warehouse workers economic well-being.  Therefore, I conclude that Jan, on behalf of the employer, committed an unfair labor practice whereby Darrel could file a complaint with the NLRB.



Article Analysis(150-200 words)

you will select an article from a business periodical which generally relates to this course and write a brief summary and analysis. When choosing articles for this weekly assignment, you should ask yourself “Would this article be interesting to a student in this course or to someone who is working as a business professional?”  This is an individual project.  Two points are deducted each day assignment is late.

Each article analysis assignment shall include four parts:

i. Title of the article, date of publication, and author (note: The Economist does not provide author’s names on articles) of the article that you selected;

ii. A paragraph(s) summarizing the content and context of the selected article;

iii. A paragraph (or more) of your reflections where you clearly and succinctly analyze the article, reflecting on its meaning as it relates to your coursework in this class and/or its usefulness for business professionals seeking to become legally-astute managers, entrepreneurs, government regulators, etc.  This analysis paragraph should include at least two references to the readings, resources, and/or discussions which are covered in the course; and,

iv. A link (URL) to the article

Recommended sources for your article:

· The Wall Street Journal (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

· The Economist (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

· Harvard Business Review (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

· The Financial Times (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

· National Public Radio U.S. News (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

· The New York Times (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

· The Washington Post (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

· The Guardian U.S. News (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.


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