How do courts decide who is an employee and who is an independent contractor? What are the positive and negative issues that are associated with being either an employee or and independent contractor? What are the risks associated with being an independent contractor?

Explain the federal laws and regulations pertaining to employee workplace rights.

Analyze the issues surrounding the formation, duration, and termination of the employment relationship.

Mr. Thomas, a 10 year executive with XYZ Corporation, continued to engage his secretary in a conversation regarding the female body part that was a subject of a recent television program, even after she indicated she did not wish to discuss it further. Mr. Thomas subsequently copied a page from a dictionary containing the name of a body part and gave it to the secretary, which in addition to prior behavior she interpreted as sexual harassment. His employer terminated him because of this incident and other alleged incidents of poor judgment. In a suit for wrongful termination, Mr. Thomas won compensatory damages plus punitive damages against the company and his secretary.

In the Discussion Board, discuss the following questions about the case:

  1. Do you think Mr. Thomas’ actions constituted sexual harassment? Why or why not?
  2. Do you think termination of Mr. Thomas was justified? Why or why not?
  3. What factors might have influenced the jury’s decision?
  4. Can you share with the class if you, your friend or colleague have had an encounter with a sexual harassment case at work? Do not use names of individuals or businesses.
 
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