I have played this sort of game before when we looked for the illegal questions in the job applications of Starbucks and Coach. Now let’s try it with a video clip (see below for the link). The clip is part of the propaganda being slung on both sides of the debate in the U.S. about a proposed law that would change the way that unions are certified to represent workers. This clip is prepared by the pro-reform camp and is obviously supposed to be a silly take on the greedy, exploitive employer in order to make the point that unions can protect workers.
However, its actually pretty useful as an exercise for employment law students. As you watch it, think about which of the employer’s actions would be unlawful if done by a real employer. For example, is it unlawful for an employer to:
- determine compensation or hiring decisions on the basis of hair colour, smell, teeth, golf handicap, what school your dad went to, or chest size?
- refuse to give an employee a written contract?
- deny sick leave?
- dismiss someone who may later become pregnant, who is getting ‘fat’, or ‘old’, or who is caught discussing unions with other employees?
For employment law students, consider first whether the common law of employment prohibits any of these things? Then ask whether any of these acts would be prohibited by a statute. You may be surprised by the answers. (I’ve discussed some of these issues before)
Here is the video (posted on U-Tube)