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ABC Manufacturers Court Claim Assignment

ABC manufactures parts for antique automobiles. The demand for ABC’s service has continually decreased over the years. ABC undertakes a reduction-in-force to make the size of its workforce compatible with the demand for its products.

To determine which employees would be subjected to the reduction-in-force, the company told its managers to score subordinates on three dimensions: performance, flexibility, and critical skills. The scores were totaled, along with points for years of service. Individuals with the lowest total scores were fired.

The performance score was based on the worker’s two most recent appraisals. To rate flexibility, the managers were instructed to do the following: “Rate the employee’s flexibility within the Company. Can his or her documented skills be used in other assignments that will add value to current or future Company work? Is the employee retrainable for other Company assignments?”

To assess critical skills, managers were instructed to determine how critical the employee’s skills were to continuing work of the Company and whether the skills the employee had were possessed by others in the Company or generally available from the external market.

Of the 31 salaried employees laid off, 30 were at least 40 years old. The workers have statistical expert evidence that results so skewed according to age could rarely occur by chance; and that the scores for flexibility and criticality, over which managers had the most discretionary judgment, had the closest statistical ties to the outcomes.

You are an associate at a plaintiff’s law firm. A partner at the firm has asked you to create a short assessment of the workers’ case and your thoughts about the law. Make sure to address all of the following questions.

  1. What test will a court use to assess the workers’ claims?
  2. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the workers’ case?
  3. What if the same set of facts applied, except 30 of the individuals laid off were women?
    Assess the same issues contained in questions 1 and 2.
  4. Do the workers have a better chance of prevailing if they proceed on an age claim or a
    sex claim?
  5. Identify at least one change you believe should be made to the current law regarding
    disparate treatment or disparate impact discrimination. Explain fully.

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