Disparate Impact and Treatment
Essay title: Disparate Impact and Treatment
Disparate treatment case
Raytheon Co. vs. Hernandez
Mr. Joel Hernandez was an employee for Raytheon Company for 25 years until he tested positive for cocaine use, thus violating company workplace conducts (Rennert, 2004). The company had decided to have him perform a random drug test after noticing a sudden change in his work performance and behavior. After being informed that the test came back positive, Mr. Hernandez admitted to drinking heavily and using cocaine the night before the drug test. Therefore, the company gave Mr. Hernandez the option to resign or to face involuntary termination, in which he chose to resign. In an effort for Mr. Hernandez to have a clean record, Raytheon Company indicated in his record that he quit in lieu of workplace misconduct.

More than two years later, Mr. Hernandez applied for rehire at the same company. Unfortunately, an employee with the companys Labor Relations Department reviewed the application and rejected it because she stated that the company had a policy against rehiring employees who were terminated for workplace misconduct, which was clearly stated as to why Mr. Hernandez had resigned.

Mr. Hernandez then filed a complaint to the EEOC indicating that Raytheon Company did not give him a reason for rejecting his application. He believed that he had been discriminated against in violation of the ADA (The Americans with Disabilities Act), assuming that the company rejected his application because of his record of drug addiction and because he was labeled as a drug addict. The company responded by stating that his record did not have any indication of him being a drug addict. Raytheon had simply rejected his application because his previous record stated that he had been discharged for violating workplace conduct rules, in which the company a strict policy against.

The stigma that attaches to a prior drug user can be a disability under the ADA, and employers cannot refuse to hire an employee on the basis of such prior drug use. Mr. Hernandez contended that this had to be the reason why Raytheon refused to rehire him — he had been a good employee, he was over his addiction, and there was no other reasonable explanation for Raytheons position. Raytheons rationale, however, was simply this: our policy, albeit unwritten, is not to rehire employees who break the rules, period, and we have no obligation to treat Mr. Hernandez any differently than any other rule breaker, disability or no disability (Cornell Law School, 2003).

A lower court took Mr. Hernandez side, and the Supreme Court then agreed to hear the case. With uncharacteristic speed, the Supreme Court has now issued a ruling. The Supreme Court ruled that a “blanket” no-rehire policy applicable to any employee who violates a workplace rule is a “quintessentially legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for refusing to rehire an employee.” Thats a pretty significant ruling by itself, but its not our present focus.

As to Mr. Hernandez claim that his application for employment was rejected because of his prior drug addiction, the Supreme Court found that the employers facially neutral policy of not rehiring previously dismissed employees would be a legitimate defense unless the plaintiff can show the policy was used as a pretext and that the employer, in fact, based its decision on the applicants disability. The record is unclear as to exactly what information Raytheon considered in its decision not to rehire Mr. Hernandez. On remand, the Ninth Circuit will now have to examine the facts to determine the employers real reason for not rehiring Mr. Hernandez. As to the plaintiffs argument that such a facially neutral policy is by law a violation of the ADA because it has a disparate impact on certain people with disabilities, the lower courts determined, and the Supreme Court agreed, that Mr. Hernandez had not raised the “disparate impact” claim in a timely manner.

The Supreme Court acknowledged that both “disparate treatment” and “disparate impact” claims are available under the ADA, but declined to address whether disparate impact occurred in this case because it was not raised in a timely manner. At a minimum, the Raytheon case establishes that when plaintiffs bring a “disparate treatment” claim under the ADA for discrimination in the workplace, and the employer invokes a blanket policy defense, the

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Mr. Hernandez And Raytheon Company. (April 2, 2021). Retrieved from https://www.freeessays.education/mr-hernandez-and-raytheon-company-essay/