HRM 320 DeVry Complete Week Discussions Package
HRM 320 DeVry Complete Week Discussions Package
HRM 320 DeVry Week 1 Discussion 1
Lofty Lawns (graded)
(TCO 1) Larry Land establishes a landscaping business under the name “Lofty Lawns.” The business handles lawn care and seasonal flowers for apartment complexes, condominium associations, and homeowner associations. Larry wants to keep labor costs, legal liability, and administrative paperwork to a minimum. When he hires groundskeepers, he requires them to sign an “independent contractor” agreement that acknowledges they are independent contractors, not employees. He does not require that they be incorporated or have experience. He provides a free 1-day training seminar on lawn care “the lofty lawn way” to all his workers. He requires them to buy their own white truck and to buy from him (at cost) the trim package that says “Lofty Lawns” on the side and back of the truck. He requires them to maintain their own vehicle liability insurance (and show proof of insurance), and to pay for their own gas and truck maintenance. Lofty Lawn provides all the mowers, leaf blowers, and other landscaping equipment.
Workers are required to call in for a list of their day-to-day assignments, drive to the properties, perform the necessary work, call for the next job assignment, etc. They are expected to be “on call” (available) from 8 AM-4 PM, Monday through Friday. While working, they must wear the official “Lofty Lawns” T-shirt (summer) or sweatshirt (winter). Workers are paid a flat fee per property serviced, based on the amount of work and time necessary to complete the job. They must pay their own expenses to travel from one property to another, but they are guaranteed that jobs will not be more than 10 miles apart. They are not paid any benefits, such as health insurance, vacation or sick pay. Lofty Lawns does not deduct any withholding taxes (income taxes or payroll taxes) from their paychecks. Once each week, Larry visits the property where each worker is performing grounds work, monitors the work being done, and instructs the workers if he sees a need for improvement or a change in how they work the property. These weekly inspections can be on any day of the week so that the worker doesn’t know when to expect Larry. Based on his worksite monitoring and on customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction, Larry adjusts the rate of compensation for each worker twice each year. Almost all of Larry’s workers work for him on a 40+ hour week basis and do not work for any other landscaping company.
Recently, Will Worker was driving from one customer’s property to the next customer, ran a red light, and accidentally struck the car being driven by Sarah Senior, injuring her and damaging her car. Unfortunately, Will had just missed his last auto insurance premium payment, so his insurance company denied coverage. Sarah wants to pursue Larry’s business, “Lofty Lawns” for her damages. What is Sarah’s theory? Will she succeed?
HRM 320 DeVry Week 1 Discussion 2
TLC Pet Care (graded)
(TCO 9) TLC Pet Care Centers, a franchise operation of pet care clinics with boarding, has 56 full-time and 28 part-time employees at 13 locations. Employees include licensed veterinarians, veterinary assistants, animal groomers and front desk help. Many of the part-time employees are high school and college students who help with animals being boarded, by walking dogs, cleaning cages and helping with check-in and check-out. The management of TLC Pet Care Centers wants to establish uniform standards for these part-timers. To ensure that applicants have a real interest in working with animals, a “veterinary aptitude test” is being proposed, which would require applicants to identify various cat and dog breeds from a picture chart and name body parts of dogs and cats with proper veterinary terms. Another proposal is that each high school or college student who applies show a grade of “B” or higher in high school or college biology.
Management also wants to insist that part-timers show they’ve resided at the same address for at least 6 months, as of way of avoiding hiring “transient” student labor. Management also wants all applicants (full and part-time) to pass a “psychological screening” test to insure they do not have violent tempers or anger control problems that would create a risk of an animal being abused. Management is looking for a test to use for this. In the event an employee is ever suspected of abusing an animal, TLC’s current policy is that the employee will be required to submit to a polygraph test (lie detector test) regarding the alleged incident. Every employee must pass a drug screening test prior to being employed, in order to insure a drug-free workplace. This fact is prominently stated on the top of TLC’s employment application form. In addition, the employee handbook at TLC states that any employee reporting for work whose conduct causes the manager on duty to suspect drug use (including alcohol intoxication) is grounds for that employee to submit to blood or urine testing. Refusal under that circumstance is grounds for termination.
Are these policies at TLC Pet Care Centers in compliance with the law? If not, why not?
HRM 320 DeVry Week 2 Discussion 1
Theft of Time on the Internet (graded)
The internet is a staple of the modern office. Some companies are concerned that the Internet (and its e-mail application) lead to increased theft of time in the workplace. But, others argue that the Internet promotes efficiency of information. What are your thoughts on this? What are the parameters and the potential implications for failure to adhere to those parameters?
HRM 320 DeVry Week 2 Discussion 2
Elliptical – At Will (graded)
Human Resource Dilemma Number 5 (pg. 141, Moran text) says this:
In Elliptical Electronics Company’s employment handbook, it states in bold, “Employment is at will and can be terminated by either employer or employee at anytime for any reason with or without cause.” Later in the handbook, a multiple-step grievance procedure is outlined. Thomas Walker physically assaults a coworker without provocation. The co-worker is hospitalized, and Thomas is discharged immediately under the at-will policy. Thomas, who is black, reports that Elliptical violated its employment handbook by not providing him with a hearing as outlined in its grievance procedure. How would you advise Elliptical?
Do you think the grievance procedure modified Mr. Walker’s at-will employment relationship with Elliptical? When it comes to making such a determination, what factors come into play and are all factors consistent?
HRM 320 DeVry Week 3 Discussion 1
Young & Rich (graded)
Young & Rich, Inc. is a retail clothing chain that markets to the higher end of the young adult market, with a “look” that’s intended as a crossover between “prep school” and “active adventurous.” Image is very important to Young & Rich (Y&R), and a great deal of money and attention has been spent over the years marketing Y&R’s distinctive image. For sales associates in its retail operations, the company seeks young adults (ages 16-early 30s) who are “good looking,” “clean cut” and have the “All-American-boy-or-girl-next-door” look. The company claims that this is driven by “business necessity,” in that Y&R’s customers are drawn to stores where the staff have the “look” they’ve come to associate with Y&R. The company will not hire anyone with a drug conviction or who is currently in drug rehab. Y&R also will not hire anyone who is a member of the Communist party.
The company advertises its retail sales associate positions widely and hires from all racial and ethnic groups, men and women. Virtually all of the sales associates at Y&R have “the Y&R look.” Of those who applied for available positions last year, 45% of white applicants were hired, 37% of African American applicants were hired, 40% of Hispanic applicants were hired, 100% of Native American applicants were hired (only two applied), and 49% of Asian applicants were hired. Though Y&R hires more women than men for its retail sales operation, the percentage of applicants hired is approximately the same for men and women. In looking at the composition of the retail store staff, however, it’s apparent that virtually all of the African American sales associates are light-skinned.
Desmonda, a dark-skinned African American, was denied a sales associate position at Y&R despite having retail sales background. Caroline, a Hispanic woman, was told she did not have “the look we are looking for” when she applied for a sales associate position. Chelsea, a white woman who spent 6 months in drug rehab last year was rejected for a job at Y&R. Ted, a white university student who is a member of the Communist Party, was denied employment with Y&R for that reason.
About 25% of those hired as retail associates at Y&R were encouraged to apply when approached by a Y&R representative. Traci is one such employee. She was with friends at the local mall one day (where there is also a Y&R store) and was approached, in the food court by a Y&R manager who encouraged her to apply for a sales associate position that had just opened up at the Y&R store. Traci buys Y&R clothing and likes “the look,” so she applied for the position that day and was hired. This same system is used to hire sales associates from all races and ethnic groups, men and women. Is there a problem with this hiring practice? Why or why not?
HRM 320 DeVry Week 3 Discussion 2
Rx Medical Supply (graded)
Rx Medical Supply (Rx), a company with just over 500 employees adopted a written Affirmative Action plan in the early 1990s. At that time, the company’s professional, managerial, and executive positions were held, overwhelmingly, by white males. White females constituted the bulk of the front office and clerical staff. Rx’s Affirmative Action plan was adopted voluntarily (not as the result of a court order). Under the plan, qualified women and minorities were strongly urged to apply for the company’s available positions, especially professional, managerial and executive positions. Since that time, a large number of women and minorities were hired for these positions. Rx’s approach was (and still is) to review the credentials of all applicants, and identify all those who meet the “base” standard of “qualified” for the position. At that point, the company separates the “white male” applicant pool from the “women and minorities” pool, and identifies the top candidate(s) in each pool. If there is only one position available, it is awarded to the “most qualified” candidate overall. When there are two openings available for the same position, one position is filled with the top candidate from the “white male” pool, the other with the top candidate from the “women and minorities” pool. If there are 3 openings available for the same position, they are filled by selecting the “most qualified” applicant in the “white male” pool, the most qualified woman in the “women and minorities pool” and the most qualified racial minority in the “women and minorities pool.” If there are more than 3 openings for the same position, this same approach is applied ad infinitum.
As a result of its Affirmative Action plan, Rx has substantially increased the number of women and minorities in its professional, managerial, and executive ranks. Women now hold 45% of these positions. African Americans hold 18% of these positions, and Hispanics hold 13%. Rx’s Affirmative Action plan has come under attack as of late for being both “no longer necessary” and “discriminatory.” Jason, a white male, was rejected for a top technical position at Rx even though his credentials and experience exceeded that of Jennifer, the top candidate from the “women and minorities” pool who was one of two people hired for the position (there were two openings). There is no dispute that both Jason and Jennifer had the base qualifications for the position.
Is Rx Medical Supply’s Affirmative Action plan legally valid? Why or why not?
HRM 320 DeVry Week 4 Discussion 1
Boys Behaving Badly (graded)
The “All Erection” Crane Company has been in business for many years. The company sells and leases cranes and other heavy industrial equipment. Most of the sales force is male, and most of the office help is female. There is a lot of humor associated with the company’s name. The salesmen’s business cards and office stationary feature the picture of a crane with the company name “All Erection,” and the slogan, “All Erection, All the Time.” The President of the Company, Pete Sakes, spends very little time at the company’s facility, spending most of his time on the road developing business and buying equipment. Pete claims he had no knowledge of the incidents described below, except as noted.
HRM 320 DeVry Week 4 Discussion 2
The Pregnant Professor (graded)
Abagail Adams was hired as an associate professor of economics at Heartland University. She was the first woman professor hired in the department. When she was hired, she was given the same three-year time period as all other associate professors at Heartland U. to establish herself as an academic through teaching ability, publishing multiple articles in peer-reviewed journals, and developing a rapport with colleagues in the department through committee participation and attendance at professional conferences. After three years, as was the custom, she would face a tenure vote, and would either receive tenure and be promoted to full professor, or be denied tenure and given one year to locate another position.
HRM 320 DeVry Week 5 Discussion 1
Case Court Reporting (graded)
Case Court Reporting is a private court reporting company, which provides certified court reporters to law firms to take testimony in depositions and arbitration hearings, as well as providing “closed captioning” to local television stations for their community-based programming. Case Court Reporting (CCR) has 37 employees.
One of CCR’s court reporters is Hanna Holy, a devout Christian who will not use everyday swear words because of her religious belief, they take God’s name in vain. Hanna is a fast and accurate court reporter, but if a witness or lawyer uses swear words in any deposition or hearing she is reporting, she omits the offensive words. For example, when a witness said, “Hell, no, I don’t give a damn what he does,” Hanna typed, “Heck no, I don’t give a darn what he does.” When the law firm that ordered the transcript objected, Hanna’s “correction” was “H—, no, I don’t give a d—- what he does.” The law firm complained again, and the transcript had to be revised again (to state the original testimony) by another court reporter in the office who did not have Hanna’s sensibilities.
The office manager at CCR is Dale Dabbler, who recently proclaimed her conversion to Wicca-ism. In connection with her worship of several deities associated with her new beliefs, she believes she should be entitled to burn a candle in her office every afternoon, and carry a picture of one of the deities on her at all times, on a necklace that dangles from her neck. CCR does not believe it should be required to accommodate either Hanna or Dale’s religious practices on the job.
Due to a decline in the court reporting industry, CCR believes it must lay off about 10 of its court reporters. If layoffs are based on seniority, most of the youngest court reporters will be laid off. If the layoffs are based on skill level, which in court reporting is measured by the speed and accuracy at which someone can transcribe, most of the layoffs will be among CCR’s oldest employees, those aged 45 or older. One possible solution CCR is considering is offering an “early retirement package” to all employees aged 50 or older, under which they would receive a generous cash incentive to take retirement. For those not sufficiently induced, the company would require that they be transferred to in-office transcription of other court reporter’s notes, rather than continuing to be sent out to law firms for depositions and arbitration hearings.
Mary Sunshine, age 59, was dismissed last year as a court reporter for CCR, at a time when she was earning the highest pay and benefits of any reporter in the company. She was not given a reason for her dismissal, and was replaced by Ginny Fox, age 41, who was paid substantially less. After Mary made a complaint with the EEOC over her dismissal, CCR discovered that during her tenure as an employee, Mary had stolen office supplies valued at several hundred dollars.
As the HR director at CCR, what problems can you identify?
HRM 320 DeVry Week 5 Discussion 2
All American Gear (graded)
All American Gear, Inc. makes American flags. It has just under 50 employees. It is proud of its tradition of making its product only in the U.S., and with American workers. All American Gear (AAG) hires people of all ancestries, but requires that all its employees be U.S. citizens. Pedro, an immigrant from Costa Rica, who holds a resident alien card (showing he is in the U.S. legally) applied for a position at AAG for which he was otherwise qualified, and was turned down based on lack of U.S. citizenship.
Two employees of AAG, Rajid, a first generation American of Pakistani ancestry, and Sonja, a first generation American of Serb-Bosnian ancestry complained that two co-workers of Mexican ancestry made abusive, derogatory remarks about them in Spanish. There was some dispute about what was said, since everyone else who overheard the exchange speaks little or no Spanish. As a result, AAG adopted an “English only” policy at the workplace. Juan and Garcia, the alleged harassers, complained that the English-language-only rule discriminated against them because of their national origin.
Bernie is the national sales manager for AAG. His job duties include giving sales presentations to large groups. Several months ago, he was severely injured in a motorcycle accident, resulting in permanent hearing loss and a broken arm. The broken arm now requires months of physical therapy. Bernie wants AAG to hire an assistant for him to hear questions in the back of the room at sales presentations, and special equipment to type his reports.
There is a job opening at AAG for a sewing machine operator. This position requires someone who can operate and maintain the large industrial sewing machines that the company uses for stitching large cloth flags. The sewing machine itself has an emergency stop pedal on floor level, as well as other levers at 2′, 3 1/2′ and 5 1/2′ off the floor. It also requires someone who can set, reset, and un-jam large pieces of fabric from the sewing mechanism, which requires upper body strength, mobility, and flexibility. Dana, a paraplegic with sewing experience, has applied for the job.
Recently, after a wave of rumors began to cause complaints and absenteeism, two AAG employees disclosed certain medical conditions. Trace admitted that he is HIV positive and is taking a cocktail of drugs to combat his condition. Farah admitted that he is suffering from an attack of West Nile virus. Other AAG employees are refusing to work with or near either Trace or Farah and state that they will quit if they are required to do so.
What laws, if any, apply to these HR issues at AAG?
HRM 320 DeVry Week 6 Discussion 1
Upsides and Downsides (graded)
Our readings focused on the benefits of unionizing and collective bargaining. Let’s examine the opposing point of view. Many people feel that unions and collective bargaining actually have a heavy downside that is sometimes ignored. Do you think there is a downside or disadvantage to having unions or engaging in collective bargaining? Explain your responses and support your positions.
Some other world factors that must be considered in any discussion of this issue are outsourcing and third world labor markets. Explain how outsourcing and third world labor markets enter into the mix when it comes to unionizing and collective bargaining. How has the recent economic downturn impacted your position on these issues?
HRM 320 DeVry Week 6 Discussion 2
Express Delivery Systems (graded)
Express Delivery Systems, Inc. is a worldwide package delivery company that specializes in fulfilling “just in time” parts and supplies to manufacturers. It provides both “overnight” and “express” deliveries, express referring to the fastest road-based delivery available 24/7. Express Delivery Systems (EDS) drivers and sorters work in 3 overlapping 8-hour shifts, M-F, so that the necessary personnel are always available to make a shipment. Therefore, some employees work7:00 AM to 3:30 PM (with a half-hour lunch break), some work10:00 AM-6:30 PM, some work11:00 PM-7:30 AM, and so on. There are also two part-time “weekend” shifts, with 12-hour days Saturday and Sunday. EDS pays its full-time employees based on a 40-hour work week, M-F. These employees can then earn “overtime” pay on weekends by filling in when needed if delivery demands require supplementing the part-time “weekend” crew.
When full-timers work on the weekend, however, they agree to be “on call” in 4-hour increments. To do this, they “call in” their availability and the 4-hour “clock” begins. During that 4 hours, the employee must be reachable at all times via cell phone, and must be able to take a delivery immediately. The employee may not travel outside his or her “pick up zone” while on call, which limits mobility to approx. a 12-mile radius. If the employee gets a delivery request, he/she makes the delivery and is paid for both the “wait time” and the time taken to make the actual delivery. If the employee gets no call within the 4 hours, he/she is not paid, but can sign up for another 4-hour “on call” status at any time. No regular employee is ever required to be on call weekends; the company relies on “go getters” who want to make some OT on the weekend and are willing to be available for it.
Dennis, a full-time M-F employee, agreed to go “on call” weekends many times last year, and spent a total of 600 “overtime” hours “on call,” though he was only called and paid for deliveries for 150 hours. He insists that he is owed overtime pay for the remaining 450 hours. During school holiday periods, EDS also hires high school students (aged 14 and older) to assist in processing orders at its two national distribution centers. EDS does not allow the students to work more than 6 hours per day or more than 36 hours per week, and they may not work with the mechanical sorting equipment. The students are paid minimum wage, and the job is advertised as a “paid internship.” The local high school complains that students who work at EDS over school holidays are returning exhausted, and that no one under age 16 should be permitted to work there.
Renee, a scheduling manager for EDS, worked an average of 50 hours per week last year. She is paid a salary of $50,000 plus full benefits to manage the scheduling of sorters and drivers for incoming orders. She supervises a staff of 8 scheduling assistants, who each coordinate schedules within their geographic regions. She is actively involved in hiring, training and supervising these scheduling assistants, but does not have the sole power to hire or fire them. She is claiming overtime for the excess hours worked, and EDS is claiming she is part of “management” and is exempt from being paid overtime.
What issues do you see raised by this scenario?
HRM 320 DeVry Week 7 Discussion 1
Defined Benefit or Contribution Plans (graded)
Congress passed the Employment Retirement Income Security Act to protect employee benefits including pension or retirement benefits. However, ERISA does not specifically address one of the current “hot topics” in employer retirement plans. That “hot topic” is the use of defined benefit or defined contribution retirement plans. Employers that have defined benefit retirement plans are increasingly converting those plans to defined contribution plans while almost all new employee pension plans are defined contribution plans. What protections does ERISA provide to employees in general? How might these protections be inadequate from an employee standpoint as our country faces challenging economic times? Can employees truly “rely” on benefits such as health insurance and retirement?
HRM 320 DeVry Week 7 Discussion 2
Ergonomics Requirements (graded)
Compliance Publications (CP) has 2000 employees. Approximately 200 of those employees spend their 8 workday hours typing and transcribing materials for the various publications produced at Compliance. Many of these employees work in a large typing hall (an open location where each employee has a small desk and a computer where they complete their typing). Some employees, however, work from remotely from home during the same work hours, and are responsible for providing their own workspace. Recently, the employees have been complaining about pain in their back and wrists, eye strain, and discomfort on standing after the long day of typing. Individual employees have made the following suggestions.
Margaret, who works in the typing hall, asks for swivel typing chairs equiped with a high-back, lumbar (low-back) support, and foot rests.
Jung, who works in the typing hall, asks for the computer keyboards to be replaced by ergonomic keyboards.
Angel, who works in the typing hall, asks for computer monitor screen guards to reduce the glare coming from the existing computer monitors.
Kepi, who works in the typing hall, asks for current computer monitors to be replaced with large screen anti-glare plasma monitors mounted on ergonomic bracketing for the correct angle and positioning of the display.
Frank, who works in the typing hall, asks for CP to hire a trainer to come in and work individually with typists on ergonomic positioning.
Lavone, who works in the typing hall, objects to any changes to his workstation and wants CP to agree that any changes it makes will not apply to his workstation.
Roseanne, who is an Executive Assistant, has her own office, and spends less than 1/4 of her work day typing, asks that CP provide her with the same ergonomic equipment and training that it provides to its workers in the typing hall.
Destiny, who works from home, asks that CP provide her with the same ergonomic equipment and training that it provides to its workers in the typing hall.
Eileen, who works in HR, collects the suggestions and is asked to make a recommendation to CP about how to proceed. Considering OSHA’s current stance on ergonomics, what should she recommend?