We will write a custom Essay on McDonald V Santa Fe Trail Transportation specifically for you
301 certified writers online
The Central Legal Issue
The question in this case is whether Title VII of the Civil Rights of 1964 prohibits racial discrimination of employees in private organizations against whites plus nonwhites.
The pertinent Facts
The pertinent issues in this case include discrimination against white employees which is prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights of 1964. The case is also based on the white employees, McDonald’s and Laird’s, participation in criminal activities, which in this case, is the theft of cargo meant for Santa Fe’s customers.
Another pertinent issue is based on whether the case should be considered as a joint misconduct of the three employees or in terms of their individual participation in the criminal activity. Finally, it is also based on whether the participation of the white employees in the misappropriation of the cargo rendered them more unqualified for employment as compared to the black employee, Jackson White’s involvement in the same.
The two white employees, McDonald and Laird, allege that they were discharged by their employer because of their race. On the contrary the employer argues that their dismissal was based on their involvement in a serious criminal offense which was against the company’s code of ethics.
However, the most important factor in this case is whether the right procedure was followed to determine whether they were guilty of the offense or not, and whether their participation in the criminal act made them more qualified for dismissal by their employer than the Jackson White or not.
It is possible that the district court might have only considered McDonald’s and Laird’s participation in a deliberate, unlawful activity, and not whether the employer used the conduct of his former employees to commit discrimination which is prohibited by Title VII.
The argument in this case is why the white employees were discharged for their alleged involvement in criminal activity, while their accomplice was retained by their employer.
The petitioners in this case, McDonald and Laird, argue that a fellow employee who was also implicated in the same criminal offense was not equally punished, which according to them was because of his skin color, and therefore the employer discriminated against them because they are white.
The pro of this argument is that it implies that Santa Fe found it logical to retain Jackson White because of his color, but reasonable to discharge McDonald and Laird for the same. It proves that the three employees were not judged on joint misconduct. This is against the provisions of Title VII. However, this argument overlooks each of the three employee’s personal involvement in the misappropriation of the cargo.
The option available for this case is to reinvestigate deliberate and unlawful personal participation by each of the three employees in the misappropriation of the cargo. The results of the investigation are then used to prove or dismiss the employer’s stated reasons for the actions taken (Bennett-Alexander & Hartman, 2004).
Although this can be used to validate the truth in the arguments presented by both sides, it can not be used to compel the employer to reinstate the McDonald and Laird. Again, there is the option of passing judgment to dismiss all the guilty employees. This may help eliminate perceptions of racial discrimination; however, justice will not have been served in case Jackson White’s participation in the criminal activity was not deliberate.
Decisions made by the courts
The District Court had ruled in favor of the employer, stating that the claims brought forward by McDonald and Laird was not in accordance with the provisions of Title VII. The District Court therefore affirmed that their dismissal was based on their commission of the criminal activity.
The Court of Appeal ruled that the District Court hard erred in rejecting McDonald’s and Laird’s Title VII claims against their employer. The court therefore reversed and remanded the ruling of the District Court, and ordered the District Court to reinstitute an inquiry into the claims brought forward by both parties.
This judgment was made after finding that the District Court’s ruling was not consistent with interpretations of Title VII as regards to provisions on racial discrimination of employees in private organizations in relation to the claims brought forward by the petitioners.
Get your first paper with 15% OFF
- The District Court’s ruling is not consistent with Title VII. The ruling was held based on the two employees’ participation in a criminal activity while ignoring the possibility of racial discrimination.
- I fully agree with the employer’s isolate case argument. The employer considered level of personal involvement, as well as, deliberate participation in the misappropriation of the cargo.
- This case does not relate to affirmative action, but reveals instances where an employer may selectively discipline an employee regardless of his or her race as a result of misconduct.
The HRM Implications for future
This case implies that an employer should institute proper investigations to prove an employee’s allegations of misconduct or participation in a criminal activity. The actions taken after the investigation should be in line with the provisions of labor laws or Title VII, for employers within the United States of America.
Bennett-Alexander, D. D & Hartman, L. P. (2004). Employment law for business, 6th Ed. Boston: Irwin McGraw-Hill