Legal issues and potential solutions

Legal & Ethical Scenarios

Read the scenarios and the questions that follow.  Select any four (4) scenarios.  Identify and analyze any legal and ethical issues.  Apply legal concepts and make potential arguments as directed using laws, cases, examples, and/or other relevant materials.  Consider using short headings (consult APA materials) to separate the topics.  Summarize the facts; do not copy the scenarios into the paper.  Support your answers with information from the textbook and at least four scholarly sources other than the text and course lectures. Sources must reference U.S. law.  By the due date assigned, prepare a 4 to 7 page paper that identifies the legal issues and potential solutions and answers all questions presented, supported by relevant legal authority.  Do not exceed the page length by more than two pages

Scenario 1:  Courts and ADR

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Ben Watson works as a project manager at the corporate headquarters of Jabil Circuits in St. Petersburg, Florida. Watson regularly spends time on the office computer surfing the Internet for sports news and playing his favorite slot machine games with the sound muted. Watson usually sends personal e-mails from his own Gmail account, but he occasionally uses his Jabil account when he is too lazy to access his personal account. 

The manager of human resources, Freda Fitch, called Watson into her office on Friday afternoon, where he was asked about the emails sent to friends containing jokes of a sexual nature. The director also questioned him about the use of the Internet to play slot machines and other computer games. Watson was terminated for violating provisions of the employee handbook and escorted out of the building.

The employee handbook contained standard provisions explaining that company property, including computers, email, software and access to the Internet, were for business purposes and employee use was subject to monitoring. The company policy also prohibited any form of sexual harassment, discrimination, violence and other illegal acts, which includes transmitting such information by computer.  Violations of the stated policies include disciplinary action that may result in termination.  The handbook also contained a provision that required all disputes arising from the employment relationship that cannot be resolved internally to be resolved through the alternative dispute resolution process of mediation.

  • Since Watson believes he was wrongfully terminated and various rights were violated, he plans to consult with a lawyer and sue his employer. What are Watson’s options concerning resolution of his claims through the court or ADR?

Scenario 2:   Constitutional Rights

Since Watson had some free time after being dismissed, he stopped by the Daiquiri Shak, hoping a drink would make him feel better. Several hours later as he was on the way home, Watson was pulled over by Dale Crespo, an officer on the local police department. The officer noticed a slight slurring of Watson’s words and poor motor skills when exiting the vehicle.  Crespo requested that Watson take a breathalyzer test, but he refused.  The officer spotted a beer can on the seat of the car and searched Watson’s car. When searching the car, the officer found a loaded handgun and an unmarked bag of pills that looked like OxyContin.   

  • Did Officer Crespo violate any of Watson’s constitutional rights? Explain.

Scenario 3:  Torts

One week after Watson was terminated, Jabil received a phone call from the human resources department at Tech Data seeking to obtain a reference for Watson.  Fitch, the human resources manager for Jabil answered the standard questions, but when asked if she would rehire Watson, she made the following comment.

Off the record, Watson was terminated for theft.  I would not re-hire him because he is lazy and may have been involved with drugs too.

Fitch rationalized the part about theft since Watson stole time from the company and made up the part about drugs because she did not want Watson to get the job.  Tech Data did not hire Watson.

  • Did Fitch commit any torts? Explain.

Scenario 4:   Intellectual Property
A new position in advertising was created for Vicki Talley, the niece of Jabil’s CEO. Talley was a senior at Southeast University, majoring in marketing. Talley was in charge of revitalizing the company’s website. Talley copied images from various websites and pasted them into Jabil’s site.  Delores Banks was a full time law student who worked as an intern for Jabil. After reviewing the new website, Banks explained to Talley that using images and text without permission violates intellectual property laws. Talley explained that she could use the images because everything on the Internet is free for people to use. Talley also suggested that Banks needed to read about the fair use doctrine that was covered in her business law class.

  • Did Talley violate intellectual property laws? 

Scenario 5:  Constitutional Law
After Watson resolved the issues with his arrest, he created a blog called Jabil Exploding Electronics. The blog contained a picture of the Jabil logo, along with various images of buildings blowing up and the CEO in a casket. Watson promises readers that he will provide stories about working for Jabil and invites his readers to tell their stories. In the first article, Watson included a cartoon of his boss  in compromising sexual positions. The second article provided details about a coworker who is having an affair with her manager.

  • Has Watson committed any violations in his Internet postings concerning his former employer? 

Scenario 6: Intellectual Property

Felicia worked part time for Jabil while attending Hillsborough Community College.  As part of her final project for a degree in information technology, Felicia designed a computer program that provided the fastest and most economical methods of retrieving parts for filling customers’ orders from the distribution center.  The program also tracked the locations of the forklift drivers in the warehouse.  Felicia called the program Fast Route & Tracker (FRT).  The program was designed to be used by any type distribution facility and not specifically for Jabil.  When Jabil found out about the software, they claimed they owned the program since Felicia was employed by the company when she developed the program.  Felicia believes she owns the rights to the invention since it was created for her school project and could be used for any type of distribution company.

  • Provide arguments for Felicia and Jabil regarding ownership of the invention, Fast Route & Tracker.  Determine which party should win and provide support for your answer.

Scenario 7: Negligence

Carl and his girlfriend Heather were having coffee in the cafeteria at Jabil when the couple started to argue.  The argument escalated and employees heard Carl shout that he was going to kill Heather.  When Carl stormed outside, Heather asked the manager to help her.  The manager said he could not get involved in domestic disputes, but he called 911.  Heather hid in the women’s restroom.  Carl returned with a gun that he used to shoot the manager, a security guard, an employee and Heather.  When the police officers arrived, one officer shot and killed Carl.  Heather died at the scene, but the manager, security guard and employee survived, although they were severely injured.  A wrongful death lawsuit filed against Jabil by Heather’s parents. 

  • Discuss the legal issues of the lawsuit between Heather’s parents and Jabil.  Determine which party will win and provide legal support for your decision. 
  • What claims might be brought by the injured employee, security guard and the manager?

Submission Details:

  • Use APA format for the paper.  Review the APA materials located in the Library Research Guide.

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