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Do you agree with the court’s conclusion?

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Discussion Post #1 Using the language and principles of business law, develop a solution to prevent a potential claim of discrimination. Specifically, analyze the Court’s opinion in St. Croix v. Univ. Of Colo. Health Sciences Center, 166 P.3d 230 (Colo. App. 2007). (Week 5 FTE, Case Law You Need to Know – Employment Law). Considering all the stakeholders involved (Dr. St. Croix, the Center, other residents, and patients) what specific policies and procedures would you have instituted at the Center to avoid or diffuse St. Croix’s discrimination claim? Next, weigh the competing rights: St. Croix had a right to express herself by posting pictures on the internet; the Center has a right (some would say obligation) to protect and enhance its reputation in the medical community and with patients. Should an employer investigate a current employee and/or job candidate (to the extent permitted by law) and if something is found that will harm the company’s reputation then deny employment? Why? Why not? Lawful Activities Statute: https://law.justia.com/codes/colorado/2016/title-24/principal-departments/article-34/part-4/section-24-34-402.5 https://codes.findlaw.com/co/title-24-government-state/co-rev-st-sect-24-34-402-5.html Discussion Post #2 Aretha's demand sets the stage for our second discussion this week. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EcGjZHvD5q4 Albert Buonanno was employed by AT&T. He performed his work as required without any disciplinary incident. Buonanno is a Christian who believes that the Bible is divinely inspired, and he attempts to live his life in accordance with its literal language. Because the Bible requires that he treat others as he would like to be treated, Buonanno values and respects all other AT&T employees as individuals. He never has nor would he discriminate against another employee due to differences in belief, behaviour, background or other attribute. However, his religious beliefs prohibit him from approving, endorsing, or esteeming behaviour or values that are repudiated by Scripture. AT&T’s “Employee Handbook” featured a section entitled “Doing What’s Right: Business Integrity & Ethics Policies” that attempted to promote the company’s “Diversity Policy:” The company places tremendous value on the fresh, innovative ideas and variety of perspectives that come from a diverse workplace. Diversity is necessary for a competitive business advantage – and the company is competing for customers in an increasingly diverse marketplace. To make diversity work to our advantage, it’s our goal to build an environment that: respects and values individual differences reflects the communities we serve promotes employee involvement in decision making encourages innovation and differing perspectives in problem solving allows our diverse employee population to contribute richly to our growth. We want to create a team that is diverse, committed and the most talented in America. To that end, AT&T Broadband has a “zero tolerance” policy toward any type of discrimination, harassment or retaliation in our company. Each person at AT&T Broadband is charged with the responsibility to fully recognize, respect and value the differences among all of us. (Bold inserted) This is demonstrated in the way we communicate and interact with our customers, suppliers and each other every day. AT&T mandated that all employees sign a Certificate of Understanding, thereby agreeing to “abide by” the Diversity Policy. Buonanno questioned the meaning of the highlighted sentence. He believed that some behaviour and beliefs (e.g., a “neo-Nazi skinheads’ belief) were deemed sinful by Scripture; he could not “value” – that is, hold in esteem or ascribe worth to – such behaviour or beliefs without compromising his own religious beliefs. Buonanno refused to sign the Certificate. AT&T fired him. A US District Court Judge found that AT&T had illegally discriminated against Buonanno because of his religious beliefs. AT&T violated Title VII by failing to engage in the required dialogue with Buonanno upon notice of his concerns and by failing to clarify the challenged language to reasonably accommodate Buonanno's religious beliefs. Accordingly, Buonanno is entitled to a damage award as follows: backpay and lost 401(k) matching contributions, plus prejudgment interest totalling $93,370; compensation for emotional distress of $4,000; and front pay in the amount of $48,899, for a total damage award of $146,269. Questions: Universities and businesses are devoting significant time and resources to further awareness of and appreciation for diversity. From the vantage point of your “real world” experience, how effective are these efforts? Consider the AT&T policy, specifically the statement noted in bold. The Court found this sentence and the consequence of termination discriminatory and, thus, unacceptable. Do you agree with the Court’s conclusion? Why? Why not?

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