For each question, please do not assume (or add) any facts not in the
question. Each question has sufficient facts for you to identify the issue(s). I
have also provided you with the number of issues I expect you to identify in
each question.
Please limit your answers as instructed by each question. Although you
should not need to consult many sources outside the book, if you do so,
please identify the specific cases with complete citations.
Answering each of the required questions correctly results in a
maximum score of 50. When I grade your exam, you may receive partial
credit for an incomplete and/or partially correct response. I have also
included a bonus question worth 5 points, which results in a total possible
score of 55 points. The bonus question is optional, and you will also receive
partial credit for an incomplete and/or partially correct response.
You have until 6:30 PM on February 28, 2018 to provide your
answers to me. You may either e-mail your answers to me at or deliver them to me personally at my law office on
618 Tenth Street between 9 AM and 5 PM during the week.
Question 1: Spatula City
Spatula City, Inc. is the largest (and only) company focused on selling
spatulas of all shapes, sizes and colors. It has been in business for twenty
years, and Richard Corey was one of its first employees at its first locations
in Bentonville, Arkansas. Several years ago, Spatula City transferred Mr.
Corey to West Virginia with several other employees to open its first store in
West Virginia. Mr. Corey is the only remaining employee from the transfer
who still works at the Spatula City in West Virginia.
The Spatula City in West Virginia has a new manager, Mr. Benjamin
Braddock. Mr. Braddock delegates most of his work to the other employees.
He never holds any training, and he usually does not document anything
himself except for performance evaluations, which he administers
The President of Spatula City, Mark Knopfler, has received reports that
the Spatula City in West Virginia is not as profitable as Spatula City stores in
other comparable regions of the country. Rather than close the store, Mr.Knopfler has asked the manager of the Spatula City in West Virginia,
Benjamin Braddock, to identify several employees for termination. A few
days later, Mr. Braddock sends Mr. Knopfler a list of a dozen employees, and
this list includes Mr. Richard Corey, another male employee Mr. Emilio
Estevez, and ten female employees of various ages.
Mr. Knopfler has recently hired you as the Human Resource Manager
of the Spatula City in West Virginia, and you just received a courtesy copy of
Mr. Braddock’s “termination list” by e-mail a few minutes ago. Mr. Braddock
had not notified you previously of Mr. Knopfler’s plan, nor has he discussed
it with you. After you ask Mr. Braddock about how he decided who to
terminate, he claims he based it on his evaluations of the employees’
performances. When you ask him for documentation, Mr. Braddock tells you
that he based it on his memory because he lost all the performance reviews
before he could scan them into the computer system.
Mr. Knopfler has told you to report directly to him if you ever have any
concerns about the store’s business. Before you pick up the phone to call
1. Identify at least five (5) concerns (issues) raised by Mr.
Braddock’s termination list and discussion with you. (5 points)
2. For each issue you raised in your previous answer, discuss in
detail (analyze) your concern, and provide the appropriate
legal rule. (Feel free to refer to cases we have discussed in
class in your analysis). (5 points)
3. What, if anything, would you recommend to Mr. Braddock/Mr.
Knopfler about terminating its employees in West Virginia? (5
4. Going forward, what practices (s), if any, would you
recommend that Mr. Braddock implement at the West Virginia
Spatula City? (5 points)
Question 2: No Good Deed Will Go Unpunished
Salvador Dali works as a cashier for a convenience store in downtown
Beckley, West Virginia. He has been a model employee for 7 years and has
no criminal record. During his midnight shift, two individuals in masks with
handguns hold up the store, and demand that Salvador empty the store’s
safe and give them all the money. Unbeknownst to the robbers, Salvador
has practiced karate since he could walk, and he has attained a level six
black belt. Using his karate skills, Salvador quickly disarms and subdues his
would-be attackers, and contacts the police.Following the arrest of the robbers, the convenience store fires
Salvador because it claims he has violated its policy against workplace
Salvador wants to file a legal action against the convenience
store. Assume for the purposes of this question that you have
determined he cannot make any claim for discrimination (age,
gender, race, etc.). Based on the given facts, does Salvador have any
claim against the convenience store resulting from his termination?
If so/not, explain your answer, and please limit your response to
two (2) double-spaced typewritten pages. (12 points)
Question 3: Clean Coal
Ray Allen is a 53-year-old engineer who works for Clean Coal, Inc. in
Mingo County, West Virginia. He has 18 years of service with the company
and his evaluations have been satisfactory or better for the first 16 years of
his employment.
Clean Coal, Inc. maintains an employee handbook that it provides to
its hundreds of employees. The handbook provides that it will not tolerate
discrimination or harassment in the workplace, and that an employee may
make a report of discrimination and/or harassment without fear of reprisal or
Clean Coal, Inc. also has a “zero tolerance” policy against workplace
violence. Its policy defines “workplace violence” as “any act or threat of
physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive
behavior that occurs at the work site.” Ray Allen signed acknowledgements
that he received Clean Coal’s above policies.
On June 15, 2014, Ray calls Clean Coal’s compliance line and reports
that several male co-workers wore t-shirts with the words “Sexy Beast” on
the front at a recent picnic after work hours. Ray tells Clean Coal’s
compliance officer that he considers this behavior to be in violation of Clean
Coal’s policies. The compliance officer tells Ray that it will investigate the
Several months later, on August 18, 2014, Clean Coal’s compliance
officer tells Ray that it has found no evidence of a policy violation, and that it
is closing his case. In the meantime, Ray has told his boss Louie Prima about
his having made the report to corporate. In January of 2015, Louie gives
Ray a performance evaluation that falls a bit short of meeting expectations.Louie tells Ray that he needs to improve the time he takes on tasks, and
that he is placing Ray on a Performance Improvement Plan [PIP]. He does
not tell Ray when the PIP will end. Ray objects to the PIP, and tells Louie
that he thinks it is retaliation for his having filed a report of discrimination.
Louie tells Ray that is untrue, and that Ray may call corporate compliance.
On January 22, 2015, Ray does exactly that, and the compliance officer tells
him that the company will investigate the matter.
On May 15, 2015, the compliance officer tells Ray that it has found no
evidence of retaliation, and it closes his case. Meanwhile, Ray remains
working under the PIP.
On August 20, 2015, Louie meets with Ray and tells him that he has
concerns about Ray’s job performance. The discussion lasts an hour, and
upsets Ray. Louie documents the discussion in a typewritten document.
The next day, Ray reports to work, and receives a call from his girlfriend,
who is upset. Ray takes the call at about 8 AM, and his boss, Louie, is in the
cubicle next to Ray, and can hear everything Ray says. He hears “Don’t
worry, it will be fine,” and then toward the end of the phone call, he hears
Ray say, “Look, if it doesn’t work out, I will just shoot them all.” Louie
reports the matter to management at 8:15 AM.
At 1 PM, while Ray is finishing his lunch, Louie and several members of
management escort Ray to another office. They ask him about the phone
call, and if he said anything about “shooting” people. Ray tells him that he
may have, and that he was joking. Clean Coal disagrees, and when the
meeting ends fifteen minutes later, it fires Ray.
For the purposes of this question, assume only the additional following
Ray has no record of violence or criminal history.
Ray owns several guns, which he keeps at his house.
In the past, Clean Coal, Inc. has fired several employees based on
alleged acts of workplace violence. Their ages vary, but all of them are
younger than Ray.
Identify at least two legal claims that Mr. Allen may bring
against Clean Coal. After you identify each claim, provide the rule for
each claim, analyze the claim, and then tell me how you think ajudge/jury might decide the claim. Make sure to include in your
discussion any defenses that Clean Coal will likely raise. (12 points)
Question 4: The Garage Sale
Rocky Balboa is a single, 30 year-old Caucasian male who works fulltime for a meat packing plant in Philadelphia. He has worked there for over
ten years. He has always performed his job well, and has never received any
complaints from management. He does not have much interaction with
customers. People in the community know and like Rocky, and he has no
criminal record.
The meat-packing plant provides promotional items to all its
employees. The plant allows its employees to provide these promotional
items free to potential customers. It does not, however, allow its employees
to sell these items for personal gain. The plant has a clear, written policy
that states, in part, “Selling promotional items is grounds for immediate
Last weekend, Rocky held a garage sale at his home. Rocky’s garage
contains several promotional items from the meat packing plant in cardboard
boxes. Rocky did not, however, offer any of the meat packing plant’s
promotional items at his garage sale.
One of Rocky’s co-workers, who attended the yard sale, took a picture
of Rocky, and then posted the picture of Rocky on Facebook with the caption
“Hanging out with my bud, Rocky, at his garage sale.” In the background of
the picture, boxes of the meat packing’s promotional items are clearly
visible. A member of management at the meat packing plant, who is friends
with the co-worker who posted the photograph, sees the promotional items
in the picture. He immediately concludes that Rocky sold the meat packing
plant’s promotional items, and he recommends Rocky’s termination.
Management at the meat packing plant meets about the matter. When
they ask Rocky about it, he admits that he stores the promotional items in
his garage. He also states that he never took them out of the boxes or sold
them to anyone. Management interviews several employees who were at
Rocky’s yard sale, and many of them confirm that they saw the boxes of
promotional goods at the yard sale. Nobody, however, witnessed any sale of
the items, and, for the purposes of this question, I want you to assume that
management cannot produce any evidence that Rocky sold any meat
packing items at his garage sale.The meat packing plant decides to terminate Rocky based on his
violating the policy against selling promotional items. When Rocky asks why
he’s being fired, management tells him that he sold meat packing items at
his garage sale. Word quickly follows around the plant and Rocky’s
community that he was fired for taking promotional items at his yard sale
and selling them. Since his termination, Rocky has had difficulty finding jobs,
and he has been depressed. He is considering filing a lawsuit against the
meat packing plant.
1. Does Rocky have a claim against the meat packing plant?
Why or why not? Use “IRAC” in your discussion. (4 points)
2. Assume only for this question that Rocky’s co-worker did not
post anything on Facebook about the garage sale. How, if at
all, does that change your analysis in the previous question.
(2 points)
Identify the case we discussed in class that arose from events
in World War II. What issue(s) did that case present and what
rule(s) resulted from the case?
End of Exam. See you next Wednesday.