William Mullin Vs Raytheon and the Disparate Impact – Ethics Essay
In a disparate treatment claim, the worker seeks to prove the employer’s discriminatory motive. In a disparate impact claim there need not be proof of intentional discrimination, but rather proof that the employer utilizes employment practices that are facially neutral in their treatment of different groups but in fact fall more harshly on one group than
another and cannot be justified by business necessity. I would like to discuss one particular case that actually changed the law itself in regards to one particular janra.
In 1999, the New Hampshire Federal Court ruled in the case of William Mullin Vs Raytheon that Disparate Impact does not fall under the umbrella of the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act, or ADEA. William Mullin, a elder employee of Raytheon claimed that after many years of employment, his salary was cut by 10% when he was demoted from a level 15 employee, to a level 12 employee. The company claimed that downsizing and restructuring was the cause for the demotion. Mullin claimed that the corporate restructuring of Raytheon had a disparate impact on older workers who by their very nature had higher-grade levels because they had worked there longer.
The court felt that Raytheon was justified in it’s choice to downsize and restructure its company that cost Mr. Mullin his salary. The company was going through dire straits due to massive defense budget cut backs. They needed to dramatically decrease expenditures and payroll is usually the first place to look. A number of other older employees of Raytheon also had issues with these cuts but had no luck getting the courts to buy into their claim. Mr. Mullin and his elderly associates were forced to live with the results of Raytheon’s decision, and inevitably the ruling of the courts.
Immediate effects to my personal work environment are diverse. My retail employer, at least in my limited exposure, has never ran into situations that required downsizing and restructuring. We value our older work force and respect not only their years of service but their knowledge and experience as well. Now, if the time comes and decisions must be made on cut backs and realignments, than this case proves that a retailer does have the legal right to cut the salaries of those employees that make a great deal of money, whether they are young executives, or members of the elderly elite group.
As a manager in a retail store, this ruling supports retailer’s stance on capped salaries for team members. Every year, most of my employees are eligible for a raise up to 60 cents an hour depending upon their work performance throughout the year. There is a small group of team members that are considered by corporate to be maxed out, or grand fathered and are not eligible for any more than a 5 cent raise per hour, no matter what their work performance.
It takes many years of service to reach this lofty hour wage, but 2 of my employees know do not qualify for a full raise each year, both of which have been retail team members for 22 plus years. The nature of this rule and the length of time needed to reach the maximum pay grade has a much more negative affect on my elderly employees than my high school team. Obviously, the ruling in this case supports this type of negative impacts towards seniors that these types of rules cause.