Unit 8 Discussions – HRM308 & HRM341

Unit 8 Discussions – HRM308 & HRM341

Unit 8 DB: Future of Training(HRM308)

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Discuss what you see changing, going away, developing, etc. for the training and development industry within the next 10 to 20 years.  Defend your predictions with your course materials and outside research.

Unit 8 DB: Wages and Law (HRM341)

Consider your readings this week on wage, hour, and immigration law; along with the WARN Act. Read Case Study 18.3 on page 687 and case 18.6 on page 700 of our text.

Provide an answer to the second question of each case study. Additionally, describe the purpose and scope of the WARN Act. Provide research, facts, and examples to back up your views.

Unit 8.2 DB Unemployment Benefits and protection under the law (HRM341)

Read Case 18.5 on page 696-697 of our textbook. Then, answer the first two questions provided at the end of the case study.

May an individual receive unemployment benefits if that individual voluntarily left work with good cause?

What analysis must the commission and reviewing courts pursue in order to determine if a claimant who voluntarily leaves employment does so for “good cause”?

CASE STUDY 18.5 UMBARGER V. VIRGINIA EMPLOYMENT COMMISSION

COURT OF APPEALS OF VIRGINIA, 404 S.E.2D 380 (VA CT. APP. 1991).

[Kathy Umbarger learned that a new employee, Tim Mack, who had no prior experience in the tire business, was hired at 40 cents per hour more than she made to do work she had previously performed. She approached Leonard Canfield, Glenn Roberts’ operations manager, and demanded an explanation of the pay differential. Canfield told her that Mack was in a different classification than she was and would possibly become store manager someday. She responded that she did not think it was fair and demanded a pay raise, which Canfield told her conditions would simply not permit. At that point, Umbarger told Can- field that she felt she was the victim of sex discrimination and left the store. The next day she removed her personal belongings and filed her claim for unemployment compensation. Umbarger was disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits based on her separation from Glenn Roberts Tire and Recapping, Inc., and she appealed the decision ultimately to the court of appeals.]

KOONTZ, C. J….

An individual is disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits if the commission finds that individual voluntarily left work without good cause. The corollary to that rule is that an individual may receive unemployment benefits if the commission finds that individual voluntarily left work with good cause. The determination of what constitutes “good cause” is a mixed question of law and fact, and there- fore is subject to review on appeal. In Lee v. Virginia Employment Comm’n, 335 S.E.2d 104, 106 (1985), we considered the requirement of “good cause” in the context of an employee who voluntarily leaves employment and stated: “[B]efore relinquishing his employment … the claimant must have made every effort to eliminate or adjust with his employer the differences or conditions of which he complains. He must take those steps that could be reasonably expected of a person desirous of retaining his employment before hazarding the risks of unemployment.” Id. In other words, a claimant must take all reason- able steps to resolve his conflicts with his employer and retain his employment before voluntarily leaving that employment.

.. [W]hen determining whether good cause existed for a claimant to voluntarily leave employment, the commission and the reviewing courts must first apply an objective standard to the reasonableness of the employment dispute and then to the reasonableness of the employee’s efforts to resolve that dispute before leaving the employment. In making this two-part analysis, the claimant’s claim must be viewed from the standpoint of a reasonable employee. “Factors that … are peculiar to the employee and her situation are fac- tors which are appropriately considered as to whether good cause existed….” Id. 382 S.E.2d at 481.

In the present case, the commission and Glenn Roberts contend Ms. Umbarger’s evidence fails to show she had no reasonable alternative except to quit her job….

We interpret the circuit court’s finding that Ms. Umbarger “felt she was … discriminated against in view of the recently hired higher paid male employee” as a determination that she reasonably believed she was a victim of sexual discrimination. The record sup- ports such a determination. Without notifying her or allowing her to apply, Glenn Roberts hired a male, Tim Mack, who lacked any apparent experience in the tire business, to fill a newly created position that entailed performing many of her current duties. Mack’s starting salary was forty cents per hour more than Ms. Umbarger’s salary even though she had been employed at Glenn Roberts for nearly ten years.

Finally, she was denied a raise after Glenn Roberts recently had offered several male employees raises. The combination of these factors demonstrates the reasonableness of Ms. Umbarger’s belief that she was the victim of sexual discrimination. The determination that Ms. Umbarger reasonably believed that she was a victim of sexual discrimination negates an assertion that her belief was a purely subjective perception on her part, even though she may have erroneously held this belief. Consequently, the commission’s finding in this case that Ms. Umbarger did not demonstrate she was in fact discriminated against is immaterial.

Based upon the initial determination that Ms. Umbarger reasonably believed she was being discriminated against, we also must decide whether she took those steps that could be reasonably expected of a person desirous of retaining her employment. Unlike Lee, there is no evidence that Ms. Umbarger had the benefit of an established, designated procedure for addressing employee grievances. The evidence shows that Glenn Roberts was owned by an out-of-state corporation, Appalachian Tire Products, and that Mr. Canfield, the operations manager in charge of the two Glenn Roberts stores, was one of the top officers, if not the top officer, in Glenn Roberts available to review Ms. Umbarger’s complaint. Nothing in the record indicates or suggests that Appalachian Tire Products took an active role in the management of Glenn Roberts or in any way oversaw employee affairs. In a situation such as this, we find, as a matter of law, that Ms. Umbarger exhausted all reasonable alternatives within Glenn Roberts to resolve her complaint of discrimination when she con- fronted Mr. Canfield and he failed to respond to that complaint.

Based on our findings, we hold Ms. Umbarger is not disqualified from receiving unemployment bene- fits. Accordingly, the decision of the circuit court is reversed and the case is remanded for entry of an order consistent with this opinion.

Reversed and remanded.

Case Questions

1. May an individual receive unemployment bene- fits if that individual voluntarily left work with good cause?

2. What analysis must the commission and reviewing courts pursue in order to determine if a claimant who voluntarily leaves employment does so for “good cause”?

3. Did Umbarger have a reasonable basis to believe she was the victim of sex discrimination?

4. Did Umbarger make a sufficient effort to resolve the dispute before leaving the job?