Face Potential Damage or Risk a Lawsuit?

Case Scenario  As the layoffs progressed in Michelle Wong’s department, things did not go very smoothly. Despite repeated assurances that Polar Health will take care of

the laid off employees, give them up to two months notice to prepare their exit, provide six months of free medical coverage, and pay for additional training

and an additional one month of severance pay for each year of service, there are still several employees who are showing signs they are quite unhappy and are

beginning to drag down the morale of the staff.  Michelle has had a nagging suspicion about Jerry Parker and the confrontational manner in which he has been behaving lately. Jerry has been known to fly off

the handle at times, make borderline derogatory comments to coworkers, and often acts in a very condescending manner toward his team. Michelle is quite happy

to finally be able to get rid of Jerry and wishes the two-month schedule for the layoffs were already over so Jerry would stop making everyone miserable.  Michelle has become quite concerned with Jerry’s outbursts in the last week or so. His temper has become worse, and several members of his team have

complained to Michelle that Jerry’s tirades are stressing the department. Rumors have also surfaced that Jerry is refusing to accept his layoff and has made

ambiguous comments to one coworker hinting at retribution.  Polar Health’s privacy policies expressly forbid use of the company’s email account for personal use but allow employees to use company computers and

networks to send and receive personal emails during lunchtime or other breaks. Polar Health’s employee manual clearly states that there is no expectation of

privacy in using the company’s email account but does guarantee each employee their privacy when using a Web browser to check their personal emails and also

send and receive emails during breaks and off hours.  Michelle has been monitoring Jerry’s use of the company email account and everything seems to be normal. However, in one particular email to an unknown

recipient Jerry alludes to revenge against “you know who” and promises to follow up with more information at lunch from his personal email account. Michelle

contacts her IT department and verifies that the company’s networking specialists could capture the personal email communications that Jerry sends and

receives using company equipment.  Michelle is torn, however, since such an act would violate company policy. At the same time though, Michelle is concerned for the potential damage Jerry

might inflict on Polar Health and, given his unstable temper and egotistical stance, the potential danger he may pose to her or other executives in the

company.   Paper Instructions:  Submit a research paper of at least 200 words for each of the following questions. Provide adequate, relevant support for your position. Clearly label and answer each question individually.  1. If Michelle violates the company privacy policy and it turns out that Jerry was not planning anything serious, under what circumstances would he be able

to sue the company for violation of his privacy? Why or why not? (Hint: See Chapter 18 in Business Law Today.)  2. What steps should Michelle take to effectively deal with Jerry? (These steps need to fall within statutory law and ethical standards of the

organization.) Explain your rationale for each step Michelle should take.  3. As you look back at your career, think about the various situations you have encountered that may have had an ethical component of which you were not

conscious at that time. Since hindsight is 20/20, how would you respond differently based on this course? Describe the situation and how you reacted at that

time.  4. Based on your experiences completing the project cases, describe how you will go about managing your employees differently in the years to come.   Paper Critical Points:  1. Anticipates potential legal issues, providing relevant support for conclusions.  2. Applies legal and ethical concepts to business decisions, providing relevant support.  3. Analyzes business decisions based on legal and ethical concepts, providing relevant support for conclusions.  4. Develops strategies for applying legal and ethical issues to management decisions, providing relevant support.  5. Anticipates potential legal issues, providing relevant support for conclusions…….


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