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Two Similar Real Life Court Cases

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The paper closely examines two cases concerning discrimination; the case filed by Haddad accusing Wal-Mart of sex (gender) discrimination and Wal-Mart v. Yvonne Loskot of De sotto optical stores (Wal-Mart). Discrimination refers to treatment of people in an unacceptable and unfair way with the belief that they are different from the rest of the group. There are a number of discrimination these include; sex, age, religion, disability, racial, country of origin (nationality), sex orientation, color, among others. Discrimination can either be direct in which case a person is treated less favorably on the basis of his/her traits, such as sex, parental status, race, age or disability, or indirect discrimination depicts itself when laid down policies, procedures and guidelines seems to treat people in the same way, can negatively impact  on a section of the whole group. For instance, laying off casual workers, restricting promotion policies and regulation to staff.

The two cases are age based discrimination against employees. Although the cases did had similar facts (age discrimination), the outcomes as determined by court of law gave different outcome, in the first case, the plaintiff won while in the second case concerning Wal-Mart and Yvonne Loskot, the international retail outlet won the case.

In the case of Wal-Mart and Yvonne Loskot, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), alleged that Yvonne who was 67 years was discriminated against and lost her job in De Soto (Wal-Mart) as an optician at the centre because of her age where she made $ 18 per hour, the highest paid optician (Vitale, 2010).

In the case, EEOC (represented by Andrea Baran) supposed that the manager at the center where Loskot worked targeted her due to her earnings together with her age. EEOC told the court that they had evidence testified to them by the centre’s former manager that individuals’ hours to work was to be cut down, that of Loskot was stressed just because the manger thought she was old and would retire in the near future, and this was done in May 2005 (United States District Court For The Eastern District Of Missouri Eastern Division, 2009).

What the center manager took from the action of district manager was that Mrs. Loskot was to be got rid of, fired this is according to Baran. Immediately the number of hours to work was reduced and sending off of the center manager, a loss prevention specialist investigated the center’s optical department where Loskot worked under the order of the district manager, this was a claim made by Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (Vitale, 2010).

After the investigation by the loss-prevention specialist, Wal-Mart claimed that they had reasons to deem that Loskot during her period as an employee at the optical department stole glasses, in addition her grandchildren were enrolled in a program that provided eye services to kids with no insurance cover (Project Insight), this the international retail outlet believed was not permitted. The Missouri, U.S District court rule in the favor of Wal-Mart (United States District (Court For The Eastern District Of Missouri Eastern Division, 2010).

The second case, is a gender discrimination, in which the Supreme Court of Massachusetts acknowledged a jury verdict in which Haddad was to be paid$ 1.9 million dollars by Wal-Mart for gender discrimination against her.

Haddad was a pharmacist and worked at the international retail outlet for ten years, being an excellent worker.She accepted the position of a manager when her days to work with Wal-Mart were coming to an end, surprisingly her pay was less as compared to those of her male counter parts in holding the same position, and this made her complain consistently (Social Law, 2009).

Three managers from the company she worked for questioned her On April 14th, 2004, about two cases where two prescriptions were fraudulently written.  One was written in 2002 while she was in duty while the second was written in 2004 while a male pharmacist was in duty. Haddad told the three managers that she didn’t knew anything about the prescription but acknowledged that it might have happened when she was out of the pharmacy area for lunch and a drink. Her contact as an employee of Wal-Mart was immediately terminated.

In the other fraudulent prescription that took place when a male pharmacist, Mr. Richard Blackbird was in duty, no one was questioned and or reprimanded. To make matters more complicated he was appointed the manager of the pharmacy when Haddad was shown the door despite his testimony that he frequently left the pharmacy un attended to (unsecured) for whatever reasons be it getting snacks or talking to customers with a claim that he was not aware of policies, rules and regulations prohibiting such acts.

She then filed a lawsuit supposing unequal compensation as well as violation of her employment termination which is in contrary with the Massachusetts law against discrimination (M.G.L.c. 151B, s.4.) The judge rule in favor of Haddad and she was to be awarded $922,774 in compensatory damages which included; special damage ($17,700), from pay ($ 733,000), back pay ($95,000) and emotional distress ($125,000). An additional of $1 million dollars was also awarded punitive damages.

Wal-Mart appealed claiming that there were various errors, for instance sufficiency of the evidence, validity of punitive pay and front pay. To counter these, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts in the first error concerning sufficiency of evidence, it relied upon the evidence that Wal-Mart’s reason for termination of Haddad employment were false, the company didn’t follow its progressive discipline policy and regulation and the incident that occurred concerning the male pharmacist and no action was taken (Social Law, 2009). On the issued of punitive damage raised by the company the court heavily relied on the facts that Wal-Mart didn’t pay Haddad same rates as her male counterparts holding the same position, it was also aware that discriminating people due to their gender was not illegal, male pharmacists were not disciplined for similar or more serious mistakes.

On the third issue raised by Wal-Mart during the appeal (front pay), that the front pay was excess the jury disagreed arguing that the amount catered for her difficulty in securing a job as the company had made it generally known of her action while at the pharmacy and secondly, it accounts for what she could have earned before retiring at the age of 65 years.

The judge then reasonably come to a conclusion that Wal-Mart unequal treatment of male and female pharmacists as well as other departments was shameful and thus liable for punishment by court of law.

Similarities of the cases

In both cases, the issue of concern was discrimination- age discrimination and gender discrimination, in the case of age discrimination older employee seem to be more harassed, gender discrimination affects women as they face difficulties in promotion, pay among other issues at work place. The cases involve employees and Wal-Mart. The policy, regulation and rules of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission are not adhered to in both cases, forcing courts of law to settle the rising disputes. Another similarity of the cases is that both were handled by the U.S district courts Missouri and Massachusetts. Another similarity in these two cases is that both are business related courts and deals with employer-employee relationship.

In both cases, the issue that comes to light is rate that Loskot and Haddad received compared to their male counter parts, for Haddad, although her position was that of a manager, her pay was much less compared to her male work mates in the same position. Loskot’s working hours were reduced hence reduced hourly rates.   

Differences of the cases

In the case of Loskot against Wal-Mart, the jury rule in favor of Wal-Mart while in the case of Wal-Mart versus Haddad, the ruling favored the later where she was awarded a total of $ 1.9million dollars. Secondly, the evidence provided in the case of Haddad against Wal-Mart was evident sufficient thus no doubts for the jury’s judgment, while the evident produced in the case of Loskot Vs. Wal-Mart made the jury doubt and made the ruling in favor of Wal-Mart.

Haddad was fired immediately because of her gender and not the mistake committed (if the firing could be due to the mistake, her male counterpart opt to have been fire), in the other case, Loskot lost her job not because she stole glasses and enrolled her grandchildren into Project Insight but more so because she was perceived to be old.

In the case of Loskot and Wal-Mart, an investigation was done, this was an initiative of the district manager, to implicate her so as she can be fired, on other, hand, the Wal-Mart managers cross examined Haddad and immediately fired her.

In the case of Wal-Mart and Loskot, there was no appeal while Wal-Mart appealed after the jury ruled in favor of Haddad but the company’s appeal did fail. Wal-Mart tried to challenge the sufficiency of the evidence produced in court by Haddad, it also challenged the amount awarded for front payment as well as the punitive damage, and the jury disagreed and successfully challenged the appeal by relaying on the evidence provided.

The jury come to a conclusion in the case of Wal-Mart and Haddad that the manner with which, Wal-Mart treated its employees especially in the pharmacy department was shocking and its guilty thus need to be reprimanded.

In conclusion, although the two cases have roots in discrimination (age and gender), the outcomes as ruled by the juries are completely different. This is clearly depicted when in the case of Loskot and Wal-Mart was rule in favor of Wal-Mart and on the second case of Haddad and Wal-Mart, the jury ruled in favor of Haddad. The conclusion that was brought out in the last case by the jury is that the manner with which Wal-Mart treat male and female employees unequally is shameful and liable or punishment. It’s also important for plaintiffs to provide evident sufficiently to satisfy juries. Its worth noting that similar cases can be determined and have different outcome, similarly different cases can yield similar outcome. Judgment made by juries in most cases relies on similar cases determined in the past.

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