Part I (2 pages)
As a general matter, employment law statutes include definitions of terms such as “employee” and “work-site” or workplace. The State of New York recently enacted a law to prevent “occupational exposure to an airborne infectious disease.” You are the head of HR of a Pizzazz Pizza Incorporated, a company in New York State that is an “employer” subject to this statute. Pizzazz Pizza is a farm to table, fully integrated pizza chain. In its marketing the company boasts that: “When you sit down to eat a pizza at Pizzazz you will know that everything from the flour to the yeast, from the mozzarella to the mushrooms, and everything in between comes from our Pizzazz Hudson Valley pastures and manufacturing plants. Our fleet of Pizzazz trucks and jets make sure that we are able to go from farm to pizza oven to table with our Pizzazz speed.” You have been asked to provide the Board of Directors a summary of no more than 3 pages of the following definitions included in the statute, including an explanation of how the definitions apply to Pizzazz Pizza, as detailed in the bulleted guidance presented after the cited definitions:
(a) “Employee” shall mean any person providing labor or services for remuneration for a private entity or business within the state, without regard to an individual’s immigration status, and shall include, but not be limited to, part-time workers, independent contractors, domestic workers, home care and personal care workers, day laborers, farmworkers and other temporary and seasonal workers. The term shall also include individuals working for staffing agencies, contractors or subcontractors on behalf of the employer at any individual work site, as well as any individual delivering goods or transporting people at, to or from the work site on behalf of the employer, regardless of whether delivery or transport is conducted by an individual or entity that would otherwise be deemed an employer under this chapter. The term shall not include employees of the state, any political subdivision of the state, a public authority, or any other governmental agency or instrumentality.
(b) “Work site” shall mean any physical space, including a vehicle, that has been designated as the location where work is performed. The term shall include employer-provided housing and employer-provided transportation at, to or from the work site but shall not include the residence of the employer or employee unless such residence has been provided by the employer and is used as the primary place of work or such residence is provided by an employer covered under the provisions of article nineteen-A of this chapter
(e) “Airborne infectious disease” shall mean any infectious viral, bacterial or fungal disease that is transmissible through the air in the form of aerosol particles or droplets and is designated a highly contagious communicable disease by the commissioner of health that presents a serious risk of harm to the public health.
In providing your summary of these definitions for the Board of Directors, please make sure that you:
Explain how these definitions apply to a company like Pizzazz Pizza.
In particular, based on Pizzazz business, as described above, please describe the types of employees of Pizzazz that are likely to fall under the definition of “employee” in the statute. As part of your answer, include a list setting forth the different types of Pizzazz employees that may fall under the statute.
Similarly, please describe the different Pizzazz work sites that would fall under the definition of “work site” in the statute.
Finally, please describe the type of Pizzazz employees and work sites that are most likely to trigger application of the “airborne infectious disease” definition.
Part II (1.5 pages)
Assume that Pizzazz Pizza is a publicly traded corporation subject to Section 806 of the Sarbanes–Oxley Act (which is discussed in the Lockheed Martin v. Administrative Review Board that you read in Module 12). Pizzazz Pizza’s Assistant Chief Financial Officer, Herbert, has reported to the Chief Financial Officer an alleged violation of the securities laws by Pizzazz Pizza. Herbert reasonably believes that the conduct he reported violates one of the enumerated federal statutes or regulations under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (see section of Lockheed Martin case describing the “reasonable belief” requirement). At the time of reporting the alleged securities law violation, Herbert’s main work duties involved overseeing Pizzazz’s currency hedging activities and its cash management system. One month after Herbert reported the alleged violation, the company reassigned him. Herbert’s compensation and benefits remained the same. Herbert was transferred from Pizzazz’s corporate offices in New York City to an office in one of Pizzazz’s mushroom growing warehouses near Albany, New York. A few weeks later he was given a special assignment of calculating the capital expenditures needed to retrofit all the air purifiers in Pizzazz’s warehouses and processing plant. The project was launched to help the company meet the airborne infectious disease requirements of the law referenced above—so there was an underlying business purpose. However, Herbert was not trained as an engineer, so his new duties involved following a group of engineers who inspected the air handlers and told him now much it would cost to upgrade them in order to meet the requirements of the statute. Herbert would then sum up all the amounts and send them to the CFO in New York City. After 15 months of working with engineers, air handlers, and elementary arithmetic, Herbert quit his job at Pizzazz and moved back to New York City to look for a new job. Herbert sued Pizzazz. Please discuss the main arguments that you expect Herbert and Pizzazz to make in this case. Please tie your answer to relevant details and findings of the Lockheed case.
Part III ( 1 page)
Sarah was hired as a programmer at a new video game company. It was her dream job. On her first day of employment, she was presented with a stack of forms she needed to read and sign. Among the forms was a document in which Sarah would agree to arbitrate any disputes with the company. The document stated that Sarah would be required to file any claim against the company within thirty days of its occurrence, both parties agreed to pay their own attorney’s fees, and the parties agreed to waive any discovery. Sarah asked her supervisor if she could take the document home and have her brother (who was an attorney) look it over. The supervisor said Sarah really needed to sign the document today if she wanted to be able to start working today. Sarah signed the document. Three months later, Sarah was fired for poor performance. Sarah believed she was fired because her supervisor did not like working with women, and Sarah filed a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Then after receiving a Right to Sue letter, she sued the company in federal court. The employer sought to have the case dismissed because Sarah was required to arbitrate all disputes. Will the employer be able to enforce the arbitration agreement? In your response, be sure to tie your answer, explanation, and rationale to the lectures and/or readings in the course.
Please note the due date and rubric for this assignment. All file uploads must be in .doc, .docx, or .pdf format.
Part I (2 pages)