#1.In accordance with FAA regulations that require commercial airline pilots to retire at age 60, Fast Airlines has a broader policy that requires that all member of a flight crew – pilots, co-pilots, and flight engineers – must retire at age 60. Richard worked as a flight engineer for Fast Airlines for more than 25 years, and, when he approached the age of 60, he informed Fast Airlines that he felt that he was as able as ever to perform the duties of a flight engineer, that he had more experience as a flight engineer than any other employee of Fast Airlines, and that he wanted to work as a flight engineer beyond his 60th birthday. Fast Airlines responded to Richard’s request by agreeing that he was one of the airline’s most valuable employees and that his performance evaluations confirmed that he was as able as ever to perform the duties of flight engineer, but that company policy required that he retire. Is this age discrimination? Why, or why not? Could Fast Airline’s policy be modified to avoid the issue of age discrimination? How?
#2.William worked for a utilities company, Power, Inc., in an installation and maintenance position which sometimes required that William use man-lift equipment and climb utility poles. William was obese, and the utility company had safety regulations that required that employees who worked in William’s position not weigh more than the load limits of the equipment that was regularly used in that position. William weighed more than the safe load limits of the equipment used in his position, so his supervisor made sure that the job assignments given to William did not require him to use the man lift equipment or to climb utility poles. As part of a regular workers’ compensation insurance review, the insurance company for Power, Inc. determined that William’s weight presented an unreasonable risk of injury if he continued to work in the installation and maintenance position, so William’s supervisor advised William that he would have to lose weight in order to continue being employed by Power, Inc. Although William tried to lose weight, he was not able to lose enough to satisfy the insurance company. William said his inability to lose weight was due to the fact that he suffered from a lack of self-confidence and that he had never been able to control his weight. When William did not lose the weight necessary for him to perform his duties safely as determined by the insurance company, he was terminated. Did Power, Inc. improperly discriminate against William on the basis of a disability?
#3.Sidney worked for the post office as a letter carrier, but after Sidney had hip surgery, he was no longer able to do the work of a letter carrier that required extended periods of walking and lifting of moderately heavy loads. After Sidney had exhausted the sick leave that he was entitled to take, he asked to be reassigned from letter carrier duty to light duty work in the post office where he worked. The post office did assign Sidney to a temporary light duty position, but after several weeks, the post office notified Sidney that there was no permanent light duty position for him. Sidney then requested that the post office create a permanent light duty position for him, but the post office refused that request, and Sidney accepted disability retirement. Sidney then sued the post office for failing to reasonably accommodate his disability. Is Sidney correct? What does an employer have to do to provide reasonable accommodation for an employee’s disability?
#4.Gene Johnson, who worked for Cable Fixers, Inc. for 21 years, was terminated when he was 69 years old and was replaced by a much younger man who Cable Fixers paid a significantly lower salary than it was paying Gene. Gene’s only evidence of age discrimination is an email from his manager stating that he (the manager) understood how long Gene had worked for Cable Fixers but that Gene was not doing as good a job as he used to do. Is this enough to establish age discrimination? What elements must Gene show to prove age discrimination? Can Cable Fixers fire an older, higher salaried employee and replace him with a younger lower paid employee?