#1.Maria worked for Big Business, Inc. and qualified for FMLA leave. Her husband, George, suffered from serious medical conditions, and Maria looked after him, transporting him to medical appointments, cooking for him, giving him his medications, helping him move about, and providing psychological support for him. Big Business had consistently approved FMLA leave requests for Maria of one or two days when she had to do something to assist George. On May 10, Maria requested FLMA leave from June 15 to July1 to assist George in traveling, though she did not specify the reason for the travel. The reason for the travel was to make a pilgrimage to a religious site that was thought to provide healing powers. George did not receive any recognized medical treatment during that pilgrimage, though Maria did assist him in moving around and in giving him his medications.
On June 1, when Big Business requested certification from George’s doctors that he would receive necessary medical treatment during his travels, George’s doctors responded on June 16 that they were not scheduled to provide any medical treatment to George between June 15 and July 1 and that they had no information that George would receive any medical treatment during his travels. Big Business attempted to call Maria on June 16 when they received the information from the doctors to tell her that the FMLA leave request was not granted, but they were not able to reach Maria since she and George had already left on the pilgrimage.
Since the FMLA leave was not granted and since Maria was absent from work from June 15 to July 1, Big Business terminated her. Was Maria entitled to the FMLA leave that she requested? Did Big Business violate Maria’s rights in terminating her?
#2.Bill and Tom are partners and live in Hawaii. Bill works for Hawaii Food Service, Inc., which provides food to the major airlines flying into Hawaii. Bill is the first employee of Hawaii Food Service to approach his employer about covering his partner, Tom, under Bill’s health insurance plan that is offered by Hawaii Food Services to its employees and their dependents. Never being faced with the question of whether a same-sex partner is a “dependent,” eligible for coverage under the company’s health insurance plan, Hawaii Food Service asks you, an employment expert, what they should do. Should they expand the health insurance policy coverage to include same-sex partners as dependents? Are there any laws that require them to expand the coverage or that prohibit them from expanding the coverage?
#3.Leo, a biologically male employee of Delta Dismantlers, Inc., an auto salvage yard in California, planned to have a gender reassignment surgery but was terminated by his employer for wearing feminine attire after being told that the attire violated the company dress code. Leo wants to sue Delta Dismantlers for wrongfully discharging him. Are there federal discrimination laws that apply? Are there state discrimination laws that apply? Are there other laws that apply that might provide Leo with a cause of action?
#4.Liz was a securities analyst at a major New York City investment bank. She had been a securities analyst at that bank for five years and had received satisfactory job evaluations, so when a position as chief securities analyst came available, she applied for the job. At about the time she applied for the job, she discovered that she was pregnant. She interviewed for the chief securities analyst position, but another applicant, a female who had also worked as a securities analyst and who had received satisfactory job evaluations, but who was not pregnant, was given the job. When Liz asked the department head who made the hiring decision why she had not gotten the job, he responded:
“It didn’t bother me at all that you are pregnant. But whether or not you are going to be able to spend the time to actually perform the job and to be a mom and do all that, we factored that in, sure. We were concerned about that.”
Are those legitimate concerns? Did the investment bank act properly? Were any laws violated? If so, what laws?