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  1. 1. Chuong Q Nguyen- HRM 6603 Individual Case 1 TROY UNIVERSITY Human Resource Management (HRM 6603) Rodger Morrison Assignment: Individual Case (3rd case option) Student: Chuong Quang Nguyen ID : 1314316
  3. 3. Chuong Q Nguyen- HRM 6603 Individual Case 3 Memorandum TO: Mr. Rodger Morrison, CEO FROM: Jaden Nguyen, Human Resource Manager DATE: September 18th , 2015 SUBJECT: The Role of the Company in Mr. Dean’s Death The Problem The case provided in the scenario that had just occurred recently represents a complicated case because of the failure of stakeholders and the victim too that led death. The company, ABC, is not liable for the death of Mr. Dean because his supervisor failed on several occasions to inform other about the deceased. Sean, the supervisor, played a fundamental role in the complication of the “homicide” for his failure to cooperate with the authorities on how best we would have handled the deceased. Various approaches need to be undertaken in finding the mystery of that befell Dean. It is important to analyze the contribution of each of the parties in the case and the role they played in providing an enabling environment for the problem. The key stakeholders are the supervisor, the deceased, the management, and the other complaining party that was involved in the accident that led to the loss of two lives. The supervisor not only withheld information but also failed to adhere to the regulation of the time that is allowable for paid lunch. On the other hand, the deceased also had a role in his death because he should never have gone to drink when he was aware that he needed to go back to work. Moreover, his inability to share his possible frustrations with anyone could have led to his decision of going to drink during the day. In the blame, we, the top board of management also failed. All frustration that the deceased could have had is largely due to poor management. The inability to create an enabling environment for effective communication is the greatest mistake the C.E.O, and the HRM committed. In the
  4. 4. Chuong Q Nguyen- HRM 6603 Individual Case 4 attempt of finding the mystery around Dean’s death, it is also important to make an analysis of the complaints from the other side that was involved in the accident and its threatening to sue the company. The Supervisor Sean disappointed the company of various ways of which involving to cause death. First, he decides to withhold vital information that could have been crucial in the decision-making process before allowing the Dean to go for the paid lunch. It was important to inform about Dean and state his main weaknesses because Sean was aware of the drinking problem Dean had but refused to communicate. For instance, he knew of the probability that Dean could have problems in case he got drank but never considered sharing this information. This misconduct has caused the questioning of ABC’s role in the non-intentional act. While it could be previously be analyzed as a case of the company, the law today would take such as issue at an individual level (Society for Human Resource Management, 2013). This is because even though the company is solely to blame for the unplanned arrangement, Sean knew it all. ABC is thus not liable for the death because there is a likelihood that the deceased also pushed for the extension of the paid lunch period. We still do not have adequate proof of this claim, though. In this scenario, therefore, the court would have to consider the intent of the misconduct by the supervisor because if the company is to be held liable for the death of Dean, then the court would have to determine whether the employees was within the scope of employment (Society for Human Resource Management, 2013). From the analysis, it is clear that the supervisor misused his powers in office and would thus be sued for negligent behavior for failing to inform, the company of the deceased’s weaknesses.
  5. 5. Chuong Q Nguyen- HRM 6603 Individual Case 5 Sean also made the mistake of giving Dean an extra 30 minutes for picking up stuffs over the time allowed for the paid lunch break. While this is not directly linked to Mr. Dean’s death, it is possible that the idea created the chain of events that caused the accident. Without his agreement, Sean could have caused Dean to be angry at having him performed a role that he ought not to be doing at the wrong time. This anger is however not reported anywhere, so we are still not sure if it played a role because it probably did based on the report from the local authorities that stated that the deceased was drunk . The act is classified under the concept of vicarious liability where the decision that is in question is made between two people but eventually involves the company as the party acts for the superior (Society for Human Resource Management, 2013). Usually, the mistake arises when the two parties involved are trying to settle out an issue that targets to benefit the company in the end as indicated by the realization that Dean was asked to pick material for the work center. By giving Dean the extra 30 minutes, Sean did not intent to cause any harm to the deceased. This forms the principle of vicarious liability because even though vicarious liability is used when the problem is minor this particular case results in death (Society for Human Resource Management, 2013). Therefore, when analyzing this issue in court, it is possible that the supervisor will be questioned at a personal level rather than as a representative of the company because the decision made to extend the time for lunch was principally between the two subjects. The supervisor also fails to realize the requirements and limits of the paid lunch break and ends up overworking the employee. According to the U.S. Department of Labor (2009), bona-fide meal period are not paid for by the employee and last about 30 minutes. In this case, it is recommended that the employee gets relieved from duty completely for the full 30 minutes. However, Sean despised this requirement and made the deceased to incur more costs and thus
  6. 6. Chuong Q Nguyen- HRM 6603 Individual Case 6 end up in overtime, which is a contradiction to the workforce requirement. Again, this does not cause death directly but it is possible that if Sean had adhered to this rule, there is less chance that the deceased could have been involved in the accident. In this scenario, the court would have it easy in implicating Sean for his crimes that led to the death of one of the employees of ABC. This is because the law clearly outlines in the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations “Regulations 29 CFR 785.19” that the employee should be exempted from duties during the period which Sean requested Dean to pick the work schedule material from the Office Depot (U.S Government Publishing Office, 2015). In fact, the law categorically disproves any attempt to engage in what Sean and Dean decided to do as it is stated that “it is not necessary that an employee be permitted to leave the premises if he is otherwise completely freed from duties during the meal period” (U.S Government Publishing Office, 2015). This implies that Sean would have to face the problem individually for failing to adhere to the law regulations. The Deceased Dean’s position in what happened to him also needs a critical analysis for one to understand the role he played in the tragedy. By taking into consideration that he is just a junior employee, Dean had to follow orders from his supervisor. It is unlikely that the deceased agreed to go the Office Depot willingly considering that it was over the time allowable for the lunch break. Dean’s acceptance could have been because of getting orders from Sean. According to the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (2015), employees sometimes have to follow orders because of the fear of getting sacked by the employer due to disobedience. In fact, it is stated that the employer, who, in this case, is the supervisor, has no limits on the amount of overtime they might decide to schedule for the employees. As a result, the employee is subjected to the command of flexibility depending on the employer’s requirements. Despite the allowable time
  7. 7. Chuong Q Nguyen- HRM 6603 Individual Case 7 for the lunch break being counted as hours worked, Dean finds himself in the trap of having to meet Sean’s excess requirements. According to the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (2015), failure in adherence would have possibly led to the employee getting fired. This reality could have dawned to the deceased and possibly angered him and made him go to drink out of frustrations. However, while Dean undertook the challenge of meeting his supervisor’s needs, it is also possible that it was a mutual agreement. This hypothesis is possible because until now, we have not yet determined the deceased’s stand on the issue of picking the material for the Office Depot. If this is the case, then the concept of vicarious liability becomes evident. The Society for Human Resource Management (2013) uphold that the principle of vicarious liability is from the fact that in his bid to serve the company, Dean incurred an accident that cost him his life even though Sean did not intend it to happen as it turned out. This is a classic form of an accident that none of the three parties including, Dead, Sean or ABC should be blamed. As such, the claim by the other party’s family that was also involved in the accident is null and does not apply legally. Based on the principle of vicarious liability, the blames from the other party by involving lawyers so sue ABC lacks direction because the incidence was purely accidental even though it was meant to benefit the company in the end. Despite his deceased state, Dean is also to blame for his tragedy as a result of his carelessness. It is evident that the supervisor was aware of Dean’s inability to drive after drinking but could not share this information with anyone. The biggest problem, however, is that Dean failed to communicate to the Human Resource Management about this concept even though the HR could have found a way of helping out. According to Erven (2012), communication is paramount for the success of any company or business enterprise. It is clear that Dean was only open to his
  8. 8. Chuong Q Nguyen- HRM 6603 Individual Case 8 supervisor about his personal issues. Even though there is no law that advises on the need for employees to communicate effectively with the management, is evident that the lack of interpersonal skills by the deceased led to his death. In this perspective, therefore, the other party that is making the attempt to go to court have a pointless claim because they fail to realize that the accident was as a result of the Dean’s compromised judgement as result of his drinking rather than the company’s fault. According to Erven (2012), communication with the human resource management is the key to risk management in all angles accidents inclusive. HRM and the Management As the leaders, we have a role to play in the tragedy. Somehow to say, lacking of well management in the executive has resulted in the loss of life. The most evident weakness is the lack of interpersonal and reliable communication strategies in the company. It is clear that in the whole industry, the deceased only trusted one party, who also played a role in his death. Dean could only entrust Sean with vital information about his weaknesses. Have the management encouraged a freer interaction within the business. It is likely that the deceased’s state could have reached the leadership who could have prevented the death. One way would probably be by giving Dean a personal driver to escort him during lunch breaks. In fact, this weakness by the management is what put the company towards being judged in the court. The complaining party could file a case where it could accuse the company of not giving attention to the employees’ needs and as a result, lead to poor communication networks that led to the loss of a life. However, the company could easily defend this accusation by the accuser’s lack of proof. Following the outcome of this, it is clear that the lack of communication network and an adequate link between the management and the employee is proving a huge problem to the company.
  9. 9. Chuong Q Nguyen- HRM 6603 Individual Case 9 The management has also displayed a lack of motivation towards its employees. According to Erven (2012), a motivated employee network can help the organization accomplish its goals and assist in enabling them realize their fill potential and goals. However, ABC fails in this duty as Dean was not motivated to perform his roles effectively. Instead, the employees seem to be overworked rather than feel motivated. Based on the investigation where the deceased is caught up in an accident after having his lunch break because of drinking, it shows that the workers are somehow overwhelmed (Carbery & Cross, 2013, p. 187; Nekzada & Tekeste, 2013). In such a setting, it is highly unlikely that the employees are satisfied with the management because there is also a possibility that Dean was only acting in response to getting orders from Sean. In fact, there will question about why Dean would go drinking during the day, and more so, having not only one but several mixed drinks even though he was mature enough to aware that he was needed to drive back to work. Such incidences may occur when one is stressed and from the look of the matter, Dean must have been unhappy that he was working overtime (Carbery & Cross, 2013, p. 187; Nekzada & Tekeste, 2013). To support this hypothesis, Erven (2012) asserts that the management ought to satisfy the needs of the employees and offer adequate remuneration to ensure that they are not frustrated at work. However, the company fails in meeting employee needs, making them upset, went for a drink during day and leading to the death of one of the employees. A company’s success is driven by an efficient HRM (Machado, 2013, p. 377). However, in ABC, there is a huge problem of a failure in the implementation of policies in the company. While there are many varieties of policies that the HRM is tasked within an organization, the most concern in this case is overtime compliance. The company is, however, trying to implement this to ensure that the employees’ need for adherence to be given breaks is maintained. However,
  10. 10. Chuong Q Nguyen- HRM 6603 Individual Case 10 the members’ needs for overtime are not equally recognized. It is even unfortunate that the company’s weakness in manifested this way because the failure eventually leads to loss of life. According Schaefer & Mousa (2014 p. 2), it is important that the HRM ensure a combined implementation of minimum wage and overtime compliance as stipulated by the Fair Labor and Standards Act. Sean, however, does not realize this and bothers a frustrated Dean to go and pick work materials. If the company finds itself in court, it will probably have to tackle this side of the issue with more attention because the accuser could claim that the company does not have competent road users and as shown by Dean’ state that led to the accident. The Other Party Despite being an accident, it is clear that the accusing side seem to be more in pain than the company is because from the report by the local law enforcement agency, it is clear that Dean was the one who caused the accident. The complicated aspect of this issue is that Dean is an employee of ABC, and when an accident involves his car, a link is directed towards his company. The company could feel that it is not connected with the accident because there was no notable use of company premises in the accident, but then Sean’s statement could prove otherwise. Despite the fact that Dean was not using the company’s car at the time of the accident, it is clear that the reason he was involved in the fate was that he was picking material for the industry. According to Buckley & Okrent (2004, p. 74), in the concept of vicarious liability, the other party does not need to be compensated because the accident was caused by Dean, as he was working for the company. This concept only applies when the principal-agent relationship between Sean and Dean is taken into consideration. In fact, this should be another troubling aspect for the company because Sean is a direct link the company management. However, the company lawyer would probably have to consider that the accident classification is outside the
  11. 11. Chuong Q Nguyen- HRM 6603 Individual Case 11 scope of employment. Based on Buckley & Okrent (2004, p. 74) analysis, if a driver crashes into another vehicle in the process of making a company delivery, the company is exempted from the trouble of taking the liability for the loss of a life on the other side. The Course of Action The case is a difficult one. The complexity is because there is an intermingling of factors through both internal and external influences that define the course of action by the company. It is thus critical to make an emphasis on the direction the company will take by analyzing both sides of the scale because the company would want to solve the problem equally and ensure that there is no other similar case in future. Internal Influences The management will need to streamline several key aspects of its line of duty. The most significant direction that the management ought to consider is the criticality of having a reliable an efficient communication network within the system. It is evident that Dean shared his possible frustrations with other employee, he would have found a better way of addressing his challenges than go drinking during the day before driving back to work. Moreover, communication would be critical in enabling the top board of management understands the employees better because it seems the deceased was only free with one person. Motivate Employees ABC should give the employees’ interests priority in all aspect of running the company. Instead of overworking them, it would be practical to employ more workers who could act as messengers for the company rather than use the workers to engage in strenuous and possibly annoying
  12. 12. Chuong Q Nguyen- HRM 6603 Individual Case 12 activities. Had the company considered this prospect, it would be realistic to run the organization, as the employees would be happier. Improve Communication This area needs urgent concern. The lack of reliable communication is evident from the top management to the juniors. By taking the example of Sean’s idea to withhold the information about Dean, it is clear that the leadership is not spared of this weakness. The seriousness of the matter is coupled by the realization that the Dean considered the communication so poor that he could only be free with Sean, his supervisor. This is a major weakness in management that ought to be changed if the company has to tackle the occurrence of such incidences n future. External Influences This should be the most troubling factor that that the company should consider because it is the immediate problem facing it. Despite the magnitude of the problem, the firm has nothing to worry. The main threat posed by the other party involved in the accident is manageable. The company only needs to get its lawyer and prepare him for the trail because it seems the other party is determined to file a complaint in court. Because the company had no direct involvement in the accident, it is likely that nothing will be found as a feasible evidence to implicate the company for murder. The Possible Court Ruling Based on the evidence gathered about the role each party played in the case, the company lawyer is likely to have an easy job. The judge will possibly make a ruling in favor of the company because the corporation will not be found guilty is the homicide the complainant claims justice. This is because the vehicle used in the accident was personal, and the only link that the company
  13. 13. Chuong Q Nguyen- HRM 6603 Individual Case 13 had to Dean is the material he was requested to pick from the Office Depot. Whatever it could have been, it is less likely to be used as evidence for implicating the company because it is still unclear the document that Dean was sent to pick. Moreover, provided the vehicle used was not of the company, there is nothing for ABC Company to worry because the lawyer will effectively handle the issue based on the evidence provided to him. Please communicate within the nearest time possible to see how we can effectively handle this problem without compromising on the company’s image.
  14. 14. Chuong Q Nguyen- HRM 6603 Individual Case 14 References Buckley, W. R., & Okrent, C. J. (2004). Torts and Personal Injury Law. Cengage Learning. Retrieved from Carbery, R., & Cross, C. (2013). Human Resource Management: A Concise Introduction. Palgrave Macmillan. Retrieved from Erven, B. L. (2012). The Role of Human Resource Management in Risk Management - eXtension. Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics. Retrieved from management-in-risk-management#.Vg9ixitwJ_k Machado, C. (2013). Effective Human Resources Management in Small and Medium Enterprises: Global Perspectives: Global Perspectives (Vol. 30). IGI Global. Retrieved from Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry. (2015). Labor Standards; Frequently asked questions about hours. Retrieved October 3, 2015, from Nekzada, N., & Tekeste, S. F. (2013). Stress Causes and its Management at the Workplace-A Qualitative Study on th Causes of Stress and Management Mechanisms at Volvo Trucks AB,
  15. 15. Chuong Q Nguyen- HRM 6603 Individual Case 15 Umea. Umea. Retrieved from http://www.diva- Schaefer, J., & Mousa, R. (2014). Internal Control and Human Resource Management : Closing the Loop. Journal of Legal Issues and Cases in Business, 12(13). Retrieved from Society for Human Resource Management. (2013). Accidents & Injuries: Can a company be held liable if an employee has a car accident due to drunk driving while on business travel? Retrieved October 3, 2015, from kdrivingwhileonbusinesstravel.aspx U.S Government Publishing Office. (2015). eCFR — Code of Federal Regulations. Retrieved October 3, 2015, from idx?SID=8c390f36447b9d3f94467ad24d28c49f&mc=true&node=se29.3.785_119&rgn=div 8 U.S. Department of Labor. (2009). Fact Sheet - Wage and Hour Division (WHD). Retrieved October 3, 2015, from