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Personnel Law and Ethics: Case Study of Polygraph

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Case Assignment

Case Study #3: Elvis Stewart

  • Issue: The dispute spotlights whether an employer’s established practice of employees’ searches is motivated by racial discrimination.
  • Rule: According to the rule of law on ethics based on what is right and what is wrong, an employer should not make any decision on employees based on race, religion or color. Title VII prohibits an employer against discriminating of employees whether it’s during hiring, promotion, assignments or giving benefits.
  • Analysis: there was an earlier scene where Wal-Mart conducted a search after work when the shift was over just like normal routine of preventing theft cases. However the problem was not conducting the search as it was expected as usual, but how he conducted the search. When the search was taking place, it was observed by employees that the white employees were never stopped for the search, but the black employees were cautiously searched. To make the matters worse during one of the questions about the incident the guard replied with confidence that the focus dwelled at black employees during the search. Therefore Mr. Steward pointed out that the search was not fairly done as it was based on race, hence he felt uncomfortable about the situation. Lamm (2015) covered work in Progress, where talked about civil rights.
  • Argument: It would be very correct to point out that according to this case, there is discrimination on race. Furthermore, the security guard who was conducting the search testified that he was aiming at the black employees during the search. According to the rules and regulations under Title VII, it is evident that there is violation of privacy and Mr. Stewart deserved better treatment. As a result of the violation, Wal-Mart was considered at fault and Mr. Steward ended up being compensated.
  • Counterargument: on the other hand Walmart defends his side and points out that the allegations were unfair and a good reason to deny it. The documents presented at the court clearly showed that Mr. Stewart did not want to lose his job due to the allegation and it proved that it was a mistaken identity from the look of things. The evidence presented shows that the actions of the search clearly show that the security guard was targeting the black employees, even though Mr. Hardy denied the allegation of having targeted the black employees intentionally. Hudson et al. (2016). Reported on racial discrimination, and depression among African Americans.
  • Conclusion: based on the two arguments and the evidence presented to the court of law it is evident that the intention of security guard during the search was directly focused on the black employees. Furthermore, he testified from his own mouth that the search was purposely meant for the black employees alone. Theft cases will always occur in workplaces it’s not a new thing, although it would have been better if Wal-Mart handled the case differently and conducted the search to all the parties that work there and not the blacks alone. Reports and searches prove that profitability of a company is determined by the employees, therefore if they get discriminated they are likely going to put less confidence in their work. It would be the right thing to hold Wal-Mart liable for the actions of the security guard, as he was doing according to what was instructed by the boss. This would serve as an example to other employers who don’t respect the privacy of their employees or treat them equal with others.

Case Study #4: Elizabeth Salsbury

  • Issue: This case addressed whether or not severance pay can be provisional based on an employee’s signed contract that states that the employee will not hold the company liable for wrongful termination.
  • Rule: When it comes to termination of contract at work or being sacked the law does not hold the company of any wrong for not paying the employee after the termination. This means that the payment is not a must after the termination under Title VII on the Equal Pay Act. The only party that gets pay is the one that gives out their rights to the company after dismissal.
  • Analysis: There was analysis at Sundance Company where Ms. Salsbury worked before termination. The analysis shows that Ms. Salsbury was given a minimum of three days’ notice upon her termination. According to the company, if she was to go ahead and sign a release and separation contract as an agreement, the company would go ahead and pay her during the termination. The release statement was to prove that she was accepting separation and she would not under any circumstance file a report or go to court and sue the company. Navarro (2018). Wrote on Sexual Assault at the Margins: Recognizing the Experiences of Male Survivors. Which shows gender inequality of women being isolated in line with work.
  • However, the pay was not to come easily because if she was to go against the agreement of the contract the company would wash off their hands about paying her and they would have the power to also sue her for going against the contract. On the other hand, Ms. Salsbury considered the contract being unfair to her considering she did not want to stop working at the company, and the only reason they were giving the contract is that there was a refusal of promotion because of her gender. Hence she finally refused to go through with the agreement.
  • Argument: According to the rules of waiver provisions any contract presented must be signed by all the parties involved for it to be effective. However, having failed to sign the contract did not stop Ms. Salsbury from being present at court order and doing proceeding. The argument presented by Ms. Salsbury is based on discrimination and wanted the company to be liable for their actions.
  • Counterargument: No the company should not pay Ms. Salsbury if they don’t want to. Title VII of Civil Rights states that it is not a must for an employee to sign any contract if it does not favor him or her. According to the court of law based on the evidence presented at the court, Ms. Salsbury did not sign the contract, therefore in relation to Title VII, it shows that if an employee does not sign the contract then there are no rights rendered to the company. This show proves that the company has not broken any law, hence cannot be held accountable for the severance payment. However this being said Ms. Salsbury can still go on and sue the company with complaints of gender discrimination by filing an EEOC. Salsbury et al. (2018). Wrote on, be good, communicate, and collaborate a qualitative analysis of stakeholder perspectives on adding a chiropractor to the multidisciplinary rehabilitation team. This was meant to show Ms. Salsbury only had to sign the contract and get the payment.
  • Conclusion: the rules and regulations of civil rights under Title VII indicate that it is not a must for an employer to do severance pay to the employee and no laws are broken. Therefore Sundance did not have to pay Ms. Salsbury. Sundance should not be held reliable when it comes to the contract because it was a choice and not a must. However, Sundance should be held accountable against gender discrimination. It is fair not charging Sundance against discrimination because the case was not presented by Ms. Salsbury. Ms. Salsbury ended up losing everything because she did not get paid and no accusation on discrimination was presented to the court.

Case Study #5: Howard Saari

  • Issue: The argument in this situation, deals with whether the arbitration requirement is an encroachment of the Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA).
  • Rule: a polygraph is a tool mainly used during interrogations by the government to traitors if they think they are hiding something from them. The same method can be used in work areas by employers if they feel that their employees are lying to them. According to the federal act, under agreement between employer and employee, the lie-detector can be administered by the employer if he or she feels there is need to. However, the EPPA (Employee Polygraph Protection Act) prohibits employers from using the lie detector on employees either during recruitment or at any time on work period. Mayoral et al. (2017). Highlighted on the Use of Polygraph Testing for Theft Investigation in Private Sector Institutions. Polygraph, 46(1).
  • Analysis: in a certain incident Mr. Saari a good employee worked in a certain company and signed a form (Form U-4) that highlights on Uniform Application for Securities Industry Registration or Transfer. Which presents employee requirements for mandatory arbitration. Not long when he was working at the company that there was a theft incident. Smith Barney who was senior to him at work on job position confronted Mr. Saari and gave orders that a lie-detector to be used in order to capture the thief. However, Mr. Saari having been aware of the employees' rights protection did not proceed with the orders as they were against EPPA employee rights and ended up being terminated from work.
  • Argument: when Mr. Saari agreed to work for Smith Barney he signed a contract which states that by signing the agreement Mr. Saari agrees to arbitrate any dispute that should be arbitrated under the constitution. Therefore the agreement clearly shows that no violation has been done by the employer and hence should not be charged. The case is hard Mr. Saari because the procedures in the court do not put the arbitration aside but count it collective with all other evidence presented for argument. Mr. Saari points out that the judge should consider his argument on violation of EEPA that prohibits employers from using the lie detector on employees. However, the court still went ahead and ruled against him.
  • Counterargument: the court considers other factors on the polygraph tests. However, the case is seen as faint because both of them signed an agreement before starting working which highlights the use of arbitration in case of any disputes between employees or employers. According to the Form U-4 signed by Mr. Saari, it states that all disputes should be settled by arbitration, which prevents the court from taking any action on the employer.
  • Conclusion: contracts are form of agreement in any company, therefore after signing the employee agrees to the terms and should not go against its policies. According to the EPPA, no employer should use lie-detector on an employee either during the start of work or any time while working in the company. Smith Barney did not commit any violation according to the agreement and should not be charged for anything.


  1. Lamm, K. E. (2015). Work in Progress: Civil Rights Class Actions after Wal-Mart v. Dukes. Harv. CR-CLL Rev., 50, 153.
  2. Hudson, D. L., Neighbors, H. W., Geronimus, A. T., & Jackson, J. S. (2016). Racial discrimination, John Henryism, and depression among African Americans. Journal of Black Psychology, 42(3), 221-243.
  3. Navarro, J. N. (2018). Sexual Assault at the Margins: Recognizing the Experiences of Male Survivors. In Routledge Handbook of Social, Economic, and Criminal Justice (pp. 94-101). Routledge.
  4. Salsbury, S. A., Vining, R. D., Gosselin, D., & Goertz, C. M. (2018). Be good, communicate, and collaborate a qualitative analysis of stakeholder perspectives on adding a chiropractor to the multidisciplinary rehabilitation team. Chiropractic & manual therapies, 26(1), 29.
  5. Mayoral, L. P. C., Mayoral, E. P. C., Andrade, G. M., Mayoral, C. P., Helmes, R. M., & Pérez-Campos, E. (2017). The Use of Polygraph Testing for Theft Investigation in Private Sector Institutions. Polygraph, 46(1).
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Personnel Law and Ethics: Case Study of Polygraph. (2022, September 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 5, 2024, from
“Personnel Law and Ethics: Case Study of Polygraph.” Edubirdie, 27 Sept. 2022,
Personnel Law and Ethics: Case Study of Polygraph. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 5 Mar. 2024].
Personnel Law and Ethics: Case Study of Polygraph [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Sept 27 [cited 2024 Mar 5]. Available from:
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