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Employee treatment at workplace has been a huge issue over the years with significant focus on the need to develop a crucial understanding on how employers are expected to engage their employees. Unexplained dismissals have been a source of concern to employees who are unable to concentrate on their overall performance within an organizational environment. There are a number of key issues, which need to be addressed when focusing on legal focus on employee engagement. Workplace discrimination has been a major issue in workplace where it has been difficult to develop a better understanding on what needs to be considered in creating a well-engaged workplace environment. In one of the landmark, case McDonalds vs. The Santa Fe Trail Transportation a crucial decision was made regarding workplace discrimination, which has remained a key aspect in the United States workplace environment. This paper provides a detailed analysis on the McDonalds vs. Santa Fe Trail Transportation based on Facts, Issue, Ruling, Application and Conclusion model.
McDonald and other coworkers who are plaintiffs in the case and both white together with black employee Charles Jackson worked at Santa Fe Trail Transportation Company. All the three employees were charged for stealing of goods from one of the company’s shipment. A week later after the incidence all the three white employees were fired by Santa Fe Trail Transportation Company for improper conduct. Charles Jackson the black employee was not fired. Before the decision made by the petitioners to move to court to seek what they claimed was justice denied based on discriminatory basis because of their race, they explored grievance proceedings as well as filing complaints at the Equal Opportunity and employment commission. These processes did not yield much relief since they sought to determine that Santa Fe Trail Transportation Company had not violated any of the underlying aspects, which protect employees against any form of discrimination as claimed by the dismissed workers (Hartman, Mersky & Tate, 2014).
The Plaintiffs therefore sued Santa Fe Trail Transportation Company for violation of the civil rights act of 1964. They cited that they were unlawful discrimination at workplace place based on their race. The southern district of Texas court which first heard the case ruled that discharging white employees while retaining the black employee did not amount to racial discrimination at workplace as purported by the white dismissed employees and therefore the lawsuit was dismissed. The united states court of appeals fifth circuit also reviewed the case and affirmed the decision and ruling reached by the district court regarding the case. The plaintiffs were not satisfied with the decision that were made by the two courts and sought a review by the United StatesSupreme Court (Siegelman, 2016).
The petitioners sought the United States Supreme Court to rule that Santa Fe Trail Transportation Company violated the civil rights act of 1964 in dismissing them, which amounted to workplace discrimination. Therefore the legal question that is addressed in this case is did Santa Fe Trail Transportation company violate the civil rights act of 1964 in dismissing the petitioners while retaining the services of Charles Jackson and whether the decision made by the company amounted to racial discrimination.
The civil rights act of the year 19964 provided strict adherence where the provisions of the act forbade discrimination based onsex and race in hiring, promoting and firing of employees. The title vii of the act created the equal employment and opportunity commission, which was formed with the main objective to implement the civil rights act. The fact that all the employees had been charged by the Santa Fe Trail Transportation for gross misconduct, the petitioners expected that they will receive same treatment where they will be dismissed all of them or warned which would have amounted to equal workplace treatment without focus on race or sex of the employees. However, the participants feel that this was not the case considering the fact that Charles Jackson was not dismissed something they perceived not to be in accordance to the civil rights act. The equal employment opportunity commission was expected to find the company to have violated the civil rights act something, which the petitioners viewed to be a straightforward case of workplace discrimination in firing which is in violation of provision VII of the civil rights act 1964 (Zimmer & Sullivan, 2017).
The United States Supreme Court reversed the decision made by the district and court of appeal based on a number of facts which had not been put into consideration by the lower level courts.The opinion of the court was delivered by justice Marshall .The court ruled in favor of the petitioners by asserting that Santa Fe Trail Transportation Company violated the civil rights act 1964 when they dismissed the white employees while keeping the services of the black employee. This was reached by critical review on the fact that civil rights act of 1964 was not only aimed to protect the rights and interests of the black individuals but incorporated the interests of all persons in the united states without racial prejudice. The whites as well as the blacks were protected by the civil rights act of 1964. The laws are not put on place targeting a certain race but are based on creating a better environment under which there is a better engagement within the United States workplace environment protecting the interests of everyone regardless of race since everyone is likely to have his or her rights violated (Hartman, Mersky & Tate, 2014).
A key aspect that was considered by the supreme was the underlying fact that the civil rights act of 1964 and subsequent formation of equal employment and opportunity commission under title VII was not formed to protect the interests of any particular race but was put into operation to protect the interests of all American citizens regardless of their race. In this assertion, the Supreme Court found that the civil rights act of 1964 also protected the interests of white citizens as well as the blacks.
The supreme court noted that if the situation has been different in the sense that McDonalds was black, then the whole case would have spanned out differently considering the fact that the mistake made by all employees warranted equal treatment. Since the law protects the interests of all-American citizens and there is no special clause under the civil rights of 1964 which give black united states citizen an upper hand when considering the equal employment opportunities. The implementation of the act was aimed at ensuring that there is no workplace discrimination of any kind based on sex and race. When considering the important aspects that have been evaluated based on the case, there is strong indication that Santa Fe Trail Transportation Company erred in keeping the services of Charles Jackson while dismissing the petitioners (Alexander, 2013).
The Supreme Court also argued that the civil rights of 1866 (42 U.S.C. §1981) explicitly applies to all persons who are citizens of the United States and this includes the white persons. Thelower courts did not provide a crucial focus on the underlying important aspects when it comes to the rights of the whites. The fact that they are the majority does not mean that they are disadvantaged when it comes to certain laws and provisions, which focus on specific understanding on what needs to be put into consideration in creating an environment where equal treatment to all employees can be considered. The fact that civil rights act 19664 was enacted based on the issues facing black citizens in workplace does not mean that it is selectively applied (Zimmer & Sullivan, 2017).
Another basis for the supreme court argument regarding the reversal of decision made by the lower courts is that it looked into the legislative history of 42 U.S.C. §1981 which was primarily focused on the civil rights of the freed slaves. Within this provision, there is no mention of reverse discrimination, which was to be undertaken against the whites as some sought of payback for the initial discrimination against the whites but it sought to provide equal operational environment without specific emphasis on a given race but overall focus. The civil rights act was enacted to protect the interests of all United States citizens of every race and color. This includes the whites, which the lower courts seemed to not consider in their ruling (Aronson, 2016).
The Supreme Court also reviewed some of the transcripts on the floor debate where they sought to determine if there was any special preference, which was supposed to be given to the black citizens. The court was able to find that it was generally agreed at the time that the bill protected whites and well as blacks and thus it was unwarranted to discriminate the whites while focusing to justify the decision reached within a given workplace environment (Bergman & Salter, 2013).
The United StatesSupreme Courtreversed the decision of the court of appeal fifth circuit with a significant focus on a number of key issues, which are engaged under the civil rights act of 1964. The overall focus on the need to ensure that the equal workplace engagement aims at protecting the interests of everyone is key when interpreting the civil rights act. Even though it is a fact that the black Americans played a key role in the enactment of this law, it does not mean that the law is selective applied in favor of the black citizens in workplace but focus on the overall need to create a clear understanding on what needs to be considered in workplace (Sinclair, 2014).
The workplace environment is guided by equal chance and opportunities that are available which make it crucial to develop a better understanding on how all the races need to be engaged within workplace environment. Employees should not be penalized based on their race but rather consider their actions and make an informed decision solely focusing on the need to provide fair punitive measures without favor. Any form of discrimination in workplace based on race will result into violation of the equal employment opportunity considerations that have been put in place under the civil rights act which protect the interests of all American citizens.
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