Safeway operates a bread- baking facility in Denver, Colorado. Safeway periodically holds company- sponsored outdoor barbecues for its employees, and it purchased a gas grill equipped with a 20- pound propane tank for the barbecues. To ensure that the grill had sufficient gas for the barbecues, Safeway purchased a 40- pound tank. The larger tanks have a warning label stating that they should not be used with a grill ordi-narily equipped with a 20- pound tank. Safeway planned to hold an employee barbecue on July 17, 1998. The plant superintendent, Edward Boone, instructed the plant engineer, Jerry Lewis, to set up the grill for the barbecue. On being informed that the grill was not adequately cooking the meat, the plant manager, Jim Kirk, again summoned Lewis. Lewis and the day- shift maintenance foreman, Fred Lake, attempted to improve the flow of gas to the grill by checking the regulator and reposition-ing the tank. While Lewis and Lake were work-ing on the grill, fuel escaped and a “ ball of fire” erupted. Lewis suffered severe burns to his hand and Lake’s facial hair was singed. After an inves-tigation, an OSHA inspector issued a citation to Safeway. Safeway appealed the decision. Was this a workplace safety violation? Why or why not? [ Safeway, Inc. v. Occupational Safety & Health Rev. Comm., 382 F. 3d 1189 ( 10th Cir. 2004).]
Baxter Pharmacy paid its pharmacists a salary but no overtime pay. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act ( FLSA), employers must pay employees over-time for hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week. Baxter Pharmacy believes that the phar-macists are exempt under FLSA because they are “ professionals.” The pharmacists disagree. Is being a professional an exemption from the requirement to pay overtime under FLSA? Are pharmacists pro-fessionals? How do you think the court ruled? [ De Jesus- Rentas v. Baxter Pharmacy Services Corp., 400 F. 3d 72 ( 1st Cir. 2005).]
Toner Plus was primarily in the business of selling toner and ink cartridges for printers to local busi- nesses. Manuel was the president and sole stock- holder of Toner Plus. He was also an employee of the company. Toner Plus made payments to the South Dakota unemployment compensation fund based on Manuel’s status as a covered employee. Manuel decided to close Toner Plus on May 30, 2009. He then filed a claim for unemployment compensation benefits. At his unemployment compensation hearing, Manuel testified that he decided to close his business because sales for ink cartridges had declined over the years due to tech- nological advances. Manuel further testified that the company doubled its advertising in an attempt to generate new business. Steps were also taken to reduce expenses. In 2007, Manuel put $35,000 into the business. Despite these efforts, Toner Plus continued to struggle financially. The administra- tive law judge noted that unemployed individu- als who are otherwise eligible for unemployment compensation benefits may be disqualified from receiving if they “voluntarily” leave their employ- ment and do not have “good cause” for doing so.
Should Manuel receive unemployment compensa- tion? Why or why not? [Michael Manuel v. Toner Plus, Inc. and South Dakota Department of Labor, Unemployment Insurance Division, 815 N.W.2d 668 (2012).]