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Scenario Two: Cost Club Human Resources Department

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Scenario Two: Cost Club Human Resources Department


This is a continuation of the facts presented in Scenario One. If necessary, review Scenario One before reading Scenario Two.

In Scenario One, you assumed the role of Assistant Manager of Human Resources (HR) for a regional office of Cost Club. Your first assignment was to address important issues presented in five messages that your boss, the HR Manager Pat (Pat's last name is the same as your course facilitator) forwarded to you. Now that you have dealt with those five messages, you are given a broader assignment with more responsibility.

Downsizing the Human Resources Department

Your boss, Pat, sends you this e-mail:

Confidential Update

"We currently have eight employees in the HR department, not counting you as assistant manager, and me as department manager. Because of factors beyond our control, we must downsize the department from eight employees to five, and there is NO alternative other than terminating the employment of the three selected.

Corporate policy dictates that our region is not authorized to offer any early retirement, conversion to another department, or other less-severe ways of dealing with the downsizing. We must simply discharge three employees, so five will have to do the work of eight.

I realize this is a challenging task, especially when you've only been here a few weeks. Nevertheless, this may be best, because you don't have any personal relationships and you can be objective and operate in the best interests of the company.

Please provide me with a memo that identifies the employees you believe should be discharged. Include an explanation of what principles of employment law are relevant in the case of each of the three employees: State what the employee would have to prove to win a case of discrimination against us and whether you believe an employee would win the case, based on the facts presented below.

Also, indicate what actions management should initiate to put ourselves in the best possible position with regard to each employee's possible claim of discrimination. Our region encompasses several states, so don't consider any state laws--just the relevant federal law relating to employment and discrimination. Please send me your recommendations about who to discharge in a memo, and provide any legal references that are relevant. In addition, explain how we should incorporate the relevant legal requirements into the process of termination and the dispute resolution process that we might need if employees raise an objection to the discharge. Finally, I'd like your thoughts on what process we should use to respond to any charge of discrimination from the employees who are discharged. We want to effectively deal with such charges, especially in a climate of downsizing.

I don't have a lot of time for this, so in your memo, please don't exceed four pages--1400 words. Keep in mind that your memo may become part of the official record, so it's important to write in a very professional, grammatically-correct manner. I'm also concerned that with so many elements for each of the three employees you select, the message could get confusing, so I'd appreciate you using a table or some other display format that enables me to make comparisons easily. As you know, time is money!


You quietly review the personnel and performance assessment records of each of the eight employees, and you learn the following about them:

Abigail is a 28-year old white female personnel specialist who on some occasions acted as a manager in the HR department when the manager or assistant was absent for a week or more. Abigail has a B.S. in Business, and seven years of experience in HR work. She has developed average capability in a variety of HR roles, including record keeping, employee discharge and discipline, and development of the company safety plan. She is considered to be an expert in the area



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