LAW531 Week 5 Learning Team Assignment Week 5 IRAC Brief

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The week's assignment concerns briefing a case from the readings. You can pick any case from the readings. You must pick an actual court case and give the citation. The brief should concern a legal case that is relevant to the following Week 5, Agency, Employment and Labor Law, objectives.

Brief the case. Use the IRAC methodology. Discuss the:

  • I: Issue
  • R: Rule
  • A: Analysis
  • C:      Conclusion

The brief is followed by discussion of whether your team agrees or disagrees with the court opinion.

The paper is a minimum 1000 words in length

“Waldo’s working environment at Consumers was filled with discriminatory intimidation, ridicule, and insult that was sufficient to create a hostile work environment.”

—Moore, Circuit Judge

Facts

Theresa Waldo was employed by Consumers Energy Company of Michigan as an electrical line worker, a position that involved working in rural areas with electric lines containing high-voltage current attached to tall steel towers. She was the first woman employed by the company for this position. From the beginning of her employment, she was routinely subjected to sexual harassment. Waldo’s male coworkers refused to work with her because she was female, making it clear that women were not welcome at the job. The crew members would not let her use the company truck to drive to find bathrooms to use. Her male coworkers urinated outdoors, and they told her, “You want to work in a man’s world, pee like a guy.” Waldo’s coworkers locked her in a port-a-potty by taping the doors shut. Her coworkers displayed sexually explicit calendars, playing cards, and magazines in the trucks and at her places of work. They threw her purse out the window of a moving truck, excluded her from lunch trips, ostracized and ignored her at job sites, and at times refused to speak to her or work with her. Waldo was repeatedly called derogatory and demeaning names, such as “bitch,” “wench,” and other gender-specific demeaning language. Waldo reported these instances to her supervisor and to the human resources (HR) department of the company, but the company did not investigate or curb such abuses. Waldo sued Consumers in U.S. district court for sexual harassment in violation of Title VII. The jury rendered a verdict in favor of Waldo, awarding her $400,000 in compensatory damages and $7,500,000 in punitive damages, which the court reduced to $300,000 based on caps on damages established by federal law. The court also awarded $684,000 in attorney’s fees and $38,000 for costs and fees. Consumers appealed.

Issue

Is Consumers liable for sexual harassment?

Language of the Court

Based on the totality of evidence presented to the jury, the district court did not abuse its discretion in finding that the clear weight of the evidence demonstrated that Waldo’s working environment at Consumers was filled with discriminatory intimidation, ridicule, and insult that was sufficient to create a hostile work environment. Additionally, it was not an abuse of discretion to find that the clear weight of the evidence demonstrated that Consumers’ response to the complaints of harassment was inadequate.

Decision

The U.S. court of appeals affirmed the U.S. district court’s finding of sexual harassment and the award of damages, attorney’s fee, and costs.

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    LAW531 Week 5 Learning Team Assignment Week 5 IRAC Brief
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