Think Like a Lawyer – Harassment

Preparation

Read the following case:

Joanna Capella came to work for Educational Books (a small academic publishing house) in 2010 as an assistant to Arthur Moore, CEO. In 2012, Moore, her mentor, promoted her to vice president in charge of author relations. Her responsibilities included putting scholars under contract to write academic works. From 2012–2014 she failed to sign anyone upper management considered significant. In late 2014 she was reassigned to a position as vice president in charge of marketing, where her primary duty was to promote the company at book conventions. Upon reassignment, she promptly resigned from the company and brought suit for sexual harassment/constructive discharge.

It is undisputed by either side that Moore and Capella had a consensual sexual relationship, which ended in late 2011. It is also undisputed that Mr. Moore stated on two occasions to other executives that Ms. Capella “was a good lay.” Ms. Capella was not present for these statements. It is also undisputed that Mr. Jeffrey Marx, also a vice president, stated in 2013 that she “only had her job because of her personal relationship with the boss.” Sandy Alder, also a vice president is quoted as saying in front of three subordinates with Ms. Capella present that Capella “slept her way to the middle.” Lastly, one of these three subordinates, Victor Johnson, asked her on an occasion in early 2014, “Could I sleep with you to get a promotion?” He later apologized and said he was joking.

Educational Books’ executive handbook has a strong anti-harassment policy. The handbook also provides for a complaint procedure by filing an official complaint which, at the executive level, is sent to Mr. Moore for investigation and action. Ms. Capella did not ever file such a form.

Instructions

Analyze the legal issue(s) raised in this case, and complete the following:

  1. Write a 1–2-page script for an oral argument in defense of the organization. This should be solely from the perspective of an attorney for the organization.
    • Identify related laws or legislation that supports this perspective.
    • Summarize a logical case outcome and the relief requested from the court.
  2. Write a 1–2-page script for an oral argument in support of Ms. Capella. This should be solely from the perspective of an attorney for Ms. Capella.
    • Identify related laws or legislation that supports this perspective.
    • Summarize a logical case outcome and the relief requested from the court.
  3. Write a 1–2-page script for an oral presentation for HR leadership. This should be solely from the perspective of the head of HR regarding possible changes to HRM policies and organizational practices that would improve fairness, productivity, and worker morale as it relates to workplace discrimination.
    • Describe the potential impact of a workplace discrimination charge levied at this organization.
    • Identify related laws or legislation that supports this perspective.
    • Summarize a logical case outcome.

Your oral argument scripts should be written in a professional manner, using scholarly resources that support the analysis through clear, concise, well-organized, and grammatically correct writing that incorporates appropriate APA style conventions.

Additional Requirements

  • References: Support your assertions with citations from the suggested materials in the Resources, workplace examples, and any relevant additional research.
  • Format: Use proper APA style and format for in-text citations and references.
  • Length: 1–2 double-spaced, typed pages for each of the three oral argument scripts, in addition to the references page.
  • Written communication: Demonstrate graduate-level writing skills through accurate communication of thoughts that convey the overall goals of the assessment and do not detract from the message.
  • Font and font size: Times New Roman, 12 point.

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