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Case Law is a system that is created by the courts. Typically, laws established are created and enforced by a parliament which as we know as a legislation system (Icrl.co.uk, n.d.). Case law is divided into two types of legal systems the “civil code” system and the “common law” system. Common law is an example of the United States court system in which gives the courts the ability to create laws. In these cases, a law of the senior court can make changes and clarify the laws in which they feel. This often makes a preceding which later applies to other courts will be bounded to follow in their later cases. This idea of law can very tricky to citizens that may not stay up to date with the law marker changes. Civil code is a law system that follows its structure based off a written constitution that has specific codes and laws in place. In this system, authority is ultimately only granted to legislative enactments in which create the binding of these laws that all of the courts must follow. Even while administrative law is seen in many cases as being less codified, studies show that while there are differences administrative law can be seen in both models (Key Features of Common Law or Civil Law Systems, 2016). In these cases, it often is seen that administrative court judges use the common law system in frequent changes based on the senior leadership which is later forced upon many landmark supreme court cases against Affirmative Action and Employee-at-will.
There isn’t a day that goes by that the topic of Affirmative Action isn’t discussed. Affirmative action has been looked at through the lenses of being viewed as Weak Affirmative action and Strong Affirmative action. Let’s take a look at Strong Affirmative Action, are often viewed as preretinal treatment this basis of ethnicity and race which creates discrimination against the underrepresented group (Beauchamp, 1998). Strong Affirmative action is looking at the scope of being for racial inequality in the world. We know that for years in our country that African American were the oppressed racial group throughout slavery. Yet even after the year 1865 when slavery was abolished. It wouldn’t be until decades later that Affirmative action was fought against in the rights of the African American people.
Plessy v Ferguson was the case that started the path to what would later become and Affirmative Action movement. This case took place in 1892 in the state of Louisiana where a man by the name of Homer Plessy was asked to leave his seat middle cabin seat on a train for a white passenger. Often seen during this time as mention the courts is the common law system which would allow for the superiors to create laws at court level. In the south, those laws that had been created could be known as the Jim Crow laws. Jim Crow laws were typically applied in southern states in which had previously been the share of slavery in the country. While African Americans were supposed to be free under the thirteenth amendment these laws were the new form of slavery in the south. These laws pushed for discrimination of African American which would force to eat, live and be educated in different places as African Americans (uscourts.gov, n.d.).
In the Plessy decision, Plessy was arrested for refusing to give up his seat to the other passenger. This case reign as a staple as making its way to be heard in the United States Supreme court by 1896. During the case the courts ruled against his case that supported the right of the fourteenth amendment that states: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws” (law.corrnell.edu, n.d.). The Supreme court voted against by saying that the purpose of the amendment was a not put into place to make African American feel that they were equal to white socially in which that whites were the inferior.
Due to the court’s decision many cases reigned over the years fighting against for support of the fourteenth amendment. After years there was a game-changing case as we know it today called Brown v Board of education. This name was given to five separate cases that all shared the common factor of segregation in public schools. It was in1952, that Board v Education was heard in the Supreme court presented by the infamous attorney John Marshall. John ultimately raised concerns on the injustice that African Americans in the south were facing. Yet his main topic for this case was the separation in school systems for African Americans and whites. This injustice was unequal and violated the “equal protection clause” found in the Fourteenth Amendment. After presenting social logical test that showed that segregated schools made African American children feel that they were inferior to white students. The case was heard for almost a year before in the summer of 1954 the judge agreed in Weak Affirmative Action that it was unequal that by not having it in place would create a will to increase the opportunities of disadvantaged African American people to attain social goods by getting the education they deserved in addition to not having an inferior mindset in the school system.
While Affirmative Action is a staple in lots of earlier case something that has begun to present itself in the past decade is employment at will laws. Employment at will is the law set that means at any time your employer has the right to terminate you without any reasoning. At any point, the employer has the legal right to let you go and employees often have little to no legal against the termination. All employees should know that unless your employer indicates that they will only terminate you for good cause, the law presumes that you are an at will employee (Icrl.co.uk, n.d.).
One of the recent federal cases that have made to the fifth circuit because this law has been Swindol v Aurora Flight Science Corp. This case, discusses an employee at Aurora Flight Science being terminated from his job for gun being found locked inside his vehicle. By having this firearm on the property was initially a violation to Aurora Flights policies and procedures. The company policy stated that it prohibits firearms on the premises. Interesting enough this business being located in the state of Mississippi where by state doesn’t prohibit employees from storing their firearms in a locked vehicle in any parking structure. Because of this, the employee made the claim that the company codified against the public policy. By public policy, he had the right to not only carry a firearm but to have it in his vehicle while on the company property which makes this termination a violation of public policy (Lawless, 2016).
Due to the claims by the employee this case was moved for review by the Mississippi Supreme court, under which they determine that the public policy on guns was an exception to the employment-at-will policy that the company had in place. Court officials claimed Aurora Flight wrongfully charged the employee under the Mississippi state law. This case forced companies to take a deeper look into just how their termination of employees even under the employee at-will doctrine can be imposed by the local policies that are in place in their area. Although Aurora’s no guns policy was lawful, it was their human resources teams placed to know the policy at the local to know how they align with their policies (Lawless, 2016). An employee at the company shouldn’t have not been terminated just for having a gun in his locked vehicle in the parking structure.
Yet in another case that has made the media erupt is a case of an employee at will that brings great same to the people that are for it. In Mississippi as well an African American news anchor was recently fired for choosing to wear her natural hair. She was told by multiple producers that by wearing her natural hair she was viewed as unprofessional. In many instance jobs are clear in the hiring process on not discriminating by color which means that African American people should be fired for wearing their hair in a natural state. Not in Brittany case after one irrational comment from one of her producers and warned not to do it again she was terminated from her job as a news anchor with little to no expectation. Even after filing a claim with the EEOC in 2017 Brittany’s case has still not been seen by any circuit in the state of Mississippi (Santi, 2019 ). This would providently assume that the court agrees with the news stations racial thoughts and that Brittany has no fight.
In the final analysis, looking at both Affirmative Action and Employee at will we see comparisons on how these two relate to the world. Both these are actions in which typically force the common law system to be imposed. They are cases in which both are decided upon the court system on rather they are right or wrong. Even in cases like the Plessy decision or in the case of the journalist Brittany shows that the determining people in these situations don’t always make ethical decisions. Both of these typically over the last century have much to do with the racial and discrimination issues that we are facing in our country. Both Affirmative Action and Employee at will are two terms that are the basis of the court system and important in the legal rights of the people in this country under the constitution for those that are against what they stand for.
- Beauchamp, T. L. (1998). In Defense of Affirmative Action. The Journal of Ethics, 143-158.
- Coate, S. (1993). Will Affirmative-Action Policies Eliminate Negative Stereotypes? The American Economic Review, 1230-1240.
- Icrl.co.uk. (n.d.). Icrl.co.uk. Retrieved from Law : https://www.iclr.co.uk/knowledge/case-law/what-is-case-law/
- Key Features of Common Law or Civil Law Systems. (2016, September 06). Retrieved from ppp.worldbank.org : https://ppp.worldbank.org/public-private-partnership/legislation-regulation/framework-assessment/legal-systems/common-vs-civil-law
- law.corrnell.edu. (n.d.). 14th Amendment. Retrieved from law.corrnell.edu: https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/amendmentxiv
- Lawless, L. (2016, August 11). Termination . Retrieved from employmentlawworldview.com: https://www.employmentlawworldview.com/two-recent-federal-court-decisions-explore-the-limits-of-the-at-will-employment-doctrine/
- nolo.com. (n.d.). Employment At Will. Retrieved from nolo.com: https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/employment-at-will-definition-30022.html
- Santi, C. (2019 , January 16). Culture. Retrieved from ebony.com: https://www.ebony.com/culture/black-news-anchor-fired-unprofessional-natural-hair/
- uscourts.gov. (n.d.). History – Brown v. Board of Education Re-enactment. Retrieved from uscourts.gov: https://www.uscourts.gov/educational-resources/educational-activities/history-brown-v-board-education-re-enactment
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