Analyzing Modern Employment Discrimination and Sexual Harassment Cases Discussion Paper

Analyzing Modern Employment Discrimination and Sexual Harassment Cases Discussion Paper


In today’s evolving job market, issues of employment discrimination and sexual harassment continue to be of paramount importance. As the workplace becomes increasingly diverse, the need to ensure fair treatment of all employees is essential. This essay will delve into two scenarios presented in Chapter 20 of the reading, addressing the legal requirements for employers when administering tests to potential applicants and exploring the forms of sexual harassment discrimination prevalent today. Additionally, the essay will analyze the situation involving Leo’s mental state and its potential impact on the sexual harassment lawsuit filed by Tom.

Employment Testing and Discrimination

In the case of John, a 63-year-old applicant for a car sales position with FASTCARS, Inc., his disqualification based on the math and general aptitude tests raises questions about the employer’s responsibilities when administering such tests. According to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers are required to ensure that employment tests are both job-related and nondiscriminatory (Smith, 2019). These tests should not disproportionately affect certain protected groups, such as older individuals like John.

In this context, John could potentially argue that he was discriminated against if he can demonstrate that the tests were not genuinely job-related or that they had a disparate impact on older individuals. To support his claim, he would need to gather evidence showing that the tests were not adequately validated for the specific job requirements of a car sales position and that they unfairly disadvantaged candidates of his age group (Jones, 2017).

Forms of Sexual Harassment Discrimination

The second scenario involves Leo, a manager with a mental disability who has been advised against hugging employees due to concerns of inappropriate behavior. Despite his disability, Leo has been shown videos highlighting proper conduct to prevent sexual harassment. However, Tom, a new employee, files a sexual harassment lawsuit against the company, claiming Leo’s hugs created a hostile work environment.

Modern workplaces recognize several forms of sexual harassment discrimination, including quid pro quo harassment and hostile work environment harassment (Smith, 2018). Quid pro quo harassment occurs when employment decisions are based on submission to unwelcome sexual advances, while hostile work environment harassment pertains to unwelcome behavior that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive workplace. Tom’s lawsuit aligns with the latter, asserting that Leo’s hugs contributed to a hostile work environment.

Tom’s Potential Success in the Lawsuit:

Tom’s chances of success in his sexual harassment lawsuit against the company for Leo’s hugs are contingent upon a range of factors that encompass the severity and frequency of Leo’s actions, along with the company’s subsequent response to the situation. In order to substantiate a claim of hostile work environment, Tom would be required to present evidence that the conduct he experienced was both unwelcome and pervasive, leading to the creation of an environment that could be objectively deemed hostile (Jones, 2020). Given that Leo has a mental disability, an additional layer of complexity is introduced in determining whether his actions were intentionally harmful or a result of his limited cognitive understanding.

One pivotal factor in Tom’s case hinges on whether he can establish that the company was cognizant of the situation involving Leo’s hugs and yet failed to take adequate measures to address the issue. If Tom can provide compelling evidence that the company knew about Leo’s behavior and yet neglected to take prompt and appropriate action, his prospects for success in the lawsuit would be considerably bolstered. Such evidence could encompass written complaints, documented incidents, or any communication that reflects the company’s awareness of Leo’s conduct (Smith, 2018).

Impact of Leo’s Mental State:

The influence of Leo’s mental state on the lawsuit bears significance. The legal landscape recognizes that Leo’s mental disability could potentially impact how his actions and intentions are interpreted. Courts may take into consideration the fact that Leo’s cognitive abilities might impede his comprehension of what constitutes acceptable workplace behavior. This consideration could lead to a nuanced assessment of whether Leo’s actions were intended to create a hostile environment or were unintentional consequences of his mental limitations (Jones, 2020).

Conversely, the company’s responsibility to maintain a workplace free from harassment and discrimination remains consistent regardless of an employee’s mental state. Although Leo’s mental disability could factor into evaluating his individual culpability, it does not absolve the company from ensuring that all employees are safeguarded against harassment. The company’s knowledge of Leo’s mental condition might serve as a catalyst for them to offer additional guidance and training to both Leo and other employees to minimize the potential for misunderstandings and inappropriate conduct.

In essence, the interplay between Leo’s mental state and the company’s responsibilities highlights the complex dynamics inherent in cases of workplace harassment involving individuals with disabilities. While Leo’s mental limitations could influence how his actions are construed, the company’s obligation to maintain a harassment-free environment necessitates proactive measures to prevent any form of inappropriate behavior, irrespective of an employee’s mental condition.


In conclusion, the cases of John and Tom shed light on the complexities of employment discrimination and sexual harassment in contemporary workplaces. Employers must ensure that employment tests are valid and nondiscriminatory, as required by Title VII. Furthermore, the various forms of sexual harassment discrimination emphasize the need for employers to foster a safe and respectful work environment for all employees. Tom’s lawsuit raises questions about the impact of Leo’s mental state on his actions, highlighting the balance between accommodating employees with disabilities and maintaining a harassment-free workplace. As society continues to progress, it remains crucial to address these issues comprehensively and uphold principles of equality and fairness in the workplace.


Jones, A. (2017). Employment Discrimination Law: Cases and Materials. Aspen Publishers.

Jones, A. (2020). Workplace Harassment Law: Cases and Materials. Wolters Kluwer.

Smith, B. (2018). Workplace Sexual Harassment in the #MeToo Era. Journal of Employment Law, 23(2), 56-74.

Smith, B. (2019). Employment Testing and Discrimination: An Overview. Labor Law Journal, 70(3), 123-145.

FAQs: Contemporary Issues in Employment Discrimination and Sexual Harassment: A Case Analysis

1. What is the focus of the essay “Contemporary Issues in Employment Discrimination and Sexual Harassment: A Case Analysis”? The essay delves into scenarios involving employment discrimination and sexual harassment, examining legal and ethical considerations in these situations.

2. What is the first scenario discussed in the essay? The first scenario involves John, a 63-year-old applicant for a car sales position, who was disqualified after taking a math and general aptitude test. The essay explores the legal requirements for employers when administering such tests and potential arguments John could use to claim discrimination.

3. What is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 mentioned in the essay? Title VII prohibits employment discrimination based on factors such as age, race, gender, and more. It is relevant in the context of the first scenario, where John believes he was discriminated against due to his age.

4. How could John argue he was discriminated against in the first scenario? John could argue that the tests were not sufficiently job-related or that they disproportionately affected older candidates. He would need to present evidence supporting his claims.

5. What is the second scenario discussed in the essay? The second scenario revolves around Leo, a manager with a mental disability, who engages in hugging employees despite being advised against it. Leo’s actions lead to a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by Tom, a new employee.

6. What forms of sexual harassment discrimination are highlighted in the essay? The essay mentions quid pro quo harassment and hostile work environment harassment as two prevalent forms of sexual harassment discrimination.

7. What does Tom need to prove in order to succeed in his lawsuit against the company? Tom needs to demonstrate that the behavior he experienced from Leo was unwelcome, pervasive, and created an objectively hostile work environment.

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