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Cal State University Northridge Labor and Employment Law Case Questions

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Labor and Employment Law

Institutional Affiliation
Student’s Name
Course Name
Instructor’s Name


Labor and Employment Law
Labor and employment laws have been put across to create balanced, fair, and just working
conditions. The implementations of these laws, too, have been hectic given that some incidents
occur uniquely and may require different judgment or assessment. A good example is when
business premises use video surveillance to enhance proper security in the workplace. However,
according to the law, installing cameras or surveillance cameras is wrong in places where people
expect privacy, for instance, in washrooms. This will guide us into the act of employee privacy.
All employees are entitled to the right to privacy. This includes giving employees the right to
disclose their matters, including their private matters and medical history. The cases below are a
summary or contain examples of cases involving invasion of employees’ privacy in different
Did the doctors violate Pettus’s privacy? Did the company have the right to insist that he
attend rehab?
Medical records are considered personal information. There are a few instances when medical
reports can be disclosed, i.e., when required by the supervisor to inform any case of restriction.
Another instance is if the employer may need to know about any form of disability. The last
exception is the involvement of the government officials during investigations and so on. The
privacy act of 1974 has given employees proper protection from any invasion of their records
without their consent. However, in conjunction with the same, there is an exception to those
handling the information, for example, police officers and employees of the agency or company
that maintains the records. In this case, the doctors are the agency’s employees, i.e., a hospital
that had Pettus’ information. According to the privacy act, any employee’s information should not


be disclosed unless any written permit is provided. The doctors violated Pettus’ privacy by giving
out information that they were supposed to disclose. Pettus has the right to sue the whole agency,
i.e., the hospital, for not observing the privacy act. According to the privacy act, federal agencies
are prohibited from disclosing information or any record contained in any system of record.
On the other hand, the company did not have any right to insist that he attend rehab. In
conjunction with that, the said company is only supposed to advise their employees on what best
fits the situation. Insisting can be pointed out as invading a person’s privacy, but in this
condition, the view was on a business basis. Considering that rehabilitation mostly involves free
will, it was wrong for the company to insist on the action. It would have been right if the
company had advised him to attend rehabilitation sessions. The issue, in this case, can be drawn
to whether employees can be denied access to work or rather be dismissed for evidence that they
are drug users. Constitutionally, some steps can be followed to detect any drug use, such as
requesting a drug test from the employee. In many instances, an employee is supposed to be
notified in advance about any instance of sample collection. As in this case, Mr. Pettus had been
right to sue DuPont and the doctors for violating California’s Confidentiality of Medical
Information. It is correct to say that the doctor’s instruction was only to assess Mr. Pettus and
come up with a report stating whether he was viable for the leave or not. The company’s move
towards asking their employee to go for rehabilitation was a good decision since they had
already got information about his alcohol consumption and dependency.
In any business firm, the employer lawfully is not entitled to making personal decisions or
making decisions for an employee. However, they are entitled to ensure that all the employees
work in a safe and healthy environment. In conjunction with this, they are also supposed to
ensure that the employee is of sound health and does not use drugs or abuse substances for the


safety of others. Asking Mr. Pettus to visit a rehabilitation center was a quiet, sound, and proper
business decision which Mr. Pettus company’s intentions of the company were purely positive
and clear that theted to help him and keep his job. Under the Occupational Safety and Health
Act, employees are always supposed to maintain safe and healthful working conditions. Pettus
was not adhering to that thus can be charged for not following the (OSHA) act. On the other
hand, the doctors can be charged with violation of Mr. Pettus’ privacy as they exceeded the work
they were doing to an instant of making him lose his job.
Does Smyth have an invasion of privacy case – explain why or why not? Would he be
entitled to reinstatement and back pay?
According to the Federal Wiretapping Act, it is bound unlawful to intercept either oral or
electronic communications and come up with civil damages against the person who has been
violated. In conjunction with the same, there is an exception, i.e., firstly, in the context of
business, an employer is allowed to monitor their firm’s telephone. This is done through the use
of extension telephones. In modern society, emails are being used as a primary mode of
communication in businesses, becoming an alternative means for telephones. The Electronic
Communications Privacy Act applied or rather amended the Federal Wiretapping Act. This
means that the act applies to emails. Just like in telephones, some exceptions have been put in
There have been many cases considering the invasion of privacy based on emails. A bigger
percentage of such cases have not been won. In this case, Smyth does not have an invasion of
privacy case. We’ve seen that an exception can be made to manage one’s business from the
Electronic Communications Privacy Act. The exception applies in this case. In a court of law, if
a complainer talks about intrusion or violation of their privacy, they are supposed to offer


evidence of how their privacy was violated. It is supposed to be in a manner that is sensible and
reasonably offensive. There are different elements to consider, for example, how the defendant
penetrated or invaded one’s privacy. In conjunction with the same, the plaintiff should show or
give evidence of how the defendant accessed any unwanted access to data. The charged person,
in this case, will be found guilty if the above-stated information is evident. The case, though,
can be judged in consideration that it is an ordinary course of business. From the Electronic
Communications Privacy Act, any business firm has an exception of how to conduct the privacy
policy. In businesses, communication matter most. Besides that, managing a business entails
getting to assess everything to counter competition. Employers may have the mandate to monitor
the use of email from employees. In the case of wrongful use or activities like in the case of
Smyth, the privacy policy can be raised. Smyth’s email messages contained some provocative
language, which included a reference to “kill the backstabbing bastards” and a reference to an
upcoming company party as the “Jim Jones Koolaid affair.” These can be considered as wrong
responses, and therefore the whole point behind the invasion of privacy case will be null.
However, given the fact that the company had a policy that email communications would not be
intercepted and used as a form of discipline and discharge, Smyth can use this as an act of
violation of set policies that the company has set. The act of reinstatement can be defined as
giving back someone a position that they had lost without any loss of any job benefits.
In most cases, an agency ordered a reinstatement, for example, the National Labor Relations
Board. Smyth, in this case, is not entitled to any reinstatement. Not considering any violation of
the privacy act, his response to the email can be viewed as a threat and, therefore, bad conduct.
According to the law, one is entitled to reinstatement in consideration if they can win the case


stated against them. Reinstatement and back are entitled to people who have had a federal career
or a conditional appointment career at some point in their life.
Most people have a different view on the word ‘privacy.’ The court’s decision to come up with
laws and amendments that guide the working environment was well planned. Basically, all
employees are entitled to the right to privacy. This includes giving employees the right to
disclose their matters, including their private matters and medical history. The cases below are a
summary or contain examples of cases involving invasion of employees’ privacy in different


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