Hospital in Smithtown, PA. Love Hospital employs 700 employees and there are no unions, individual contracts of employment, or independent contractor relationships. She believed that her employer’s lax safety and health practices were exposing her to harmful levels of radiation. She complained to management and nothing was done. She asked fellow x-ray lab technicians about their working conditions and found out that her workplace had much looser rules and procedures than anywhere any of her friends worked.
She told her mom that she was going to file a complaint with OSHA and maybe even talk to a reporter from the local paper about conditions in the x-ray lab.
1. Kelly’s mom tells her that she might be fired for making her working conditions public. Kelly assures her that she would still be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits to replace her wages until she found another job. Is Kelly right?
a. It depends on whether Kelly would get a good reference from her supervisor
b. It depends on whether Kelly’s act was arising out of or in the course of her employment
c. No, because workers compensation benefits can’t be awarded when the employee is at fault
d. No, because workers compensation benefits cover only permanent injuries
e. No, Kelly has her laws a bit messed up and needs to take HRM 3512!
2. Kelly has never been one to listen to her mom’s advice. She does an interview with a reporter from the local paper, walking him through the workplace when no one is around and showing him all the dangers there. Management is furious when the piece comes out and threatens to sue Kelly for libel and slander. She doesn’t know what this is. Do you?
a. Sure thing – it is when you are found guilty of a violation of workplace rules or policies.
b. Yup – it is when you publish a false statement about a person or an entity that would harm their reputation in the community.
c. Yup – it is when you intentionally cause someone to break the contract they already made with someone else.
d. You betcha – it is when an employee violates a nondisclosure agreement (NDA)
e. Nope, I have no idea and thus I don’t want any points for this question. (Don’t pick this one!!!)
3. The hospital lawyer is committed to bringing a legal action against Kelly. If the facts show that Kelly spoke to the reporter but did not send him any emails, texts, or letters, which action will the hospital’s lawyer bring?
a. An action for libel
b. An action for slander
c. An action for unemployment compensation
d. An action for workers compensation
e. An action in employment-at-will
4. Not only does the hospital sue Kelly, it fires her and badmouths her to the doctors in the hospital, saying that her performance was substandard and she was a “whiner.” Kelly has always had stellar performance reviews. What should Kelly do?
a. Sue for negligent hiring and file for workers compensation benefits
b. Sue for OSHA retaliation and file for whistleblower benefits
c. File for unemployment compensation benefits, file a charge with OSHA for retaliation, and sue the employer for defamation
d. File a Title VII charge with the EEOC on the basis of personality discrimination and sue for defamation
e. Sue for defamation and whistleblower discrimination under Title VII
5. See the previous question. If Kelly sues for defamation, can she make out a prima facie case?
a. Yes, because she was following her personal ethics and doing what she believed was right
b. Yes, because she has all the prima facie elements for a defamation case
c. No, because being a “whiner” is more of an opinion than an actual representation of fact
d. No, because she is a public figure and she can’t prove that the hospital intentionally acted with “actual malice”
e. No, because she brought it on herself by making public accusations about the hospital’s safety procedures
6. If Kelly applies for unemployment benefits, will she get them?
a. Yes, because she was unemployed generally through the employers’ fault (they fired her) and she hadn’t committed misconduct by exercising her right to file an OSHA claim and tell the truth to a reporter
b. No, because she made her employer look bad in the general community and committed defamation; that behavior should not be rewarded with the grant of unemployment benefits.
c. It all depends on whether the employer provides unemployment benefits
d. It all depends on whether she was acting within or outside the ordinary course of her employment
e. It all depends on whether it is raining that day when she goes to collect.
7. Why would Kelly’s employer, Love Hospital, care whether she gets unemployment benefits or not?
a. Because if she gets unemployment benefits, she’s entitled to workers compensation benefits
b. Because if she gets unemployment benefits, the amount the employer has to pay in the future for unemployment insurance goes up
c. Because if she gets unemployment benefits, other employees will no longer be employees-at-will
d. Because if she gets unemployment benefits, it is more likely she can successfully sue for intentional infliction of emotional distress and defamation
e. Because if she gets unemployment benefits, she has the right to reinstatement at the employer in her old job
8. Kelly just got married last year, and what she’s gone through at work has been really stressful on both her and her husband. He’s feeling like the hospital has hurt his beloved wife AND that they’ve stolen some of that newlywed bliss out of what was previously an awesome marriage. He wants to sue the hospital for a violation of his freedom of association under the First Amendment! You tell him:
a. I know you’re mad, but that lawsuit won’t work. You (not Kelly) should sue the hospital for defamation.
b. I know you’re mad, but that lawsuit won’t work. You (not Kelly) should sue the hospital for loss of consortium.
c. I know you’re mad, but that lawsuit won’t work. You and Kelly should sue the hospital for intentional interference with contractual relations.
d. I think that lawsuit is a good choice; high success of winning it if both you and Kelly sue together.
e. I think that lawsuit is a good choice; don’t forget that you are going to have to show outrageous conduct on the part of Love Hospital to win
Josh’s Nightmare Summer Working For POTM
Josh is a Temple University art major who wanted to make some money in the summer between his freshman and sophomore year. He took a job with Packages-On-The-Move (POTM) in Philadelphia, a UPS competitor who ships products. He usually worked the night shift unloading shipments onto the delivery trucks for the drivers in the morning. Occasionally, he worked as a driver when they were shorthanded. It is a large company with several locations across the US, but it holds only 2% of the market share in this industry.
The summer was a nightmare for Josh, to say the least. The people he worked with were horrible co-workers; they didn’t know how to do their jobs, they didn’t figure out how to do them well, and they were nasty on top of that.
Josh was told by coworkers to stay away from Max, who drives the forklift around the warehouse. Max drives it aggressively and he loves zooming the forklift to scare other workers. The first week, Max parked the forklift on Josh’s foot and Josh had a sprained middle toe as a result. Josh got workers compensation benefits and was out of work (compensated) for two weeks, then cleared for full duty. His toe still hurts, especially when it rains.
9. Can Josh sue POTM for negligent hiring or negligent retention because Max is a hazard?
a. Yes, if he can show that the employer knew or should have known about Max’s reckless behaviors
b. Yes, if he can show that the employer didn’t check any of Max’s references
c. No, because he had been warned to stay away from Max and he didn’t
d. No, because workers compensation bars Josh’s suit against the employer under these facts
e. Maybe, but only if Max can be shown to have acted recklessly or negligently
10. What would have happened if Max had permanently injured Josh’s toe so that it could never return to where it was before the accident?
a. Josh could have sued POTM for intentional infliction of emotional distress
b. Josh could have sued for negligent supervision and negligent retention
c. Josh could have sued for intentional infliction of podiatric distress
d. Josh would have gotten a check in the amount of the worth of his middle toe under the state’s table of injuries
e. Nothing different than what actually happened here
11. One night, a customer came to the warehouse demanding to look for an important package. Customers aren’t allowed in the warehouse, and Brutus, the night shift supervisor, told him so. (Brutus isn’t good with people, as he has a nasty temper, so the company put him on the night shift away from customers.) The customer insisted, Brutus got really mad, and they got into a fight that ended when Brutus threw his hot cup of coffee at the customer’s face, scalding him with second-degree burns and causing permanent scarring. Can the customer sue POTM and, if so, for what?
a. Yes, for negligent hiring or negligent retention of Brutus
b. No, because workers compensation would cover this
c. Yes, for assault
d. Yes, for loss of consortium
e. No, because the customer wasn’t supposed to be at the warehouse