In this project, you will aid the vice president of the human resources department at Colossal Corporation by analyzing three complicated cases that have arisen in different subsidiaries of the company. These cases require the human resources department to make legal and ethical decisions. You will be presented with a number of readings to familiarize yourself with relevant laws, and with resources that guide you in making ethical decisions. You will produce a narrated presentation and two memos for the VP and include specific recommendations to the VP based on what you have found in the readings.
Begin in Step 1, where you will review the first case.
Step 1: Case One: Green Machine, Inc.
You take a few minutes after meeting with the vice president to collect your thoughts, then you begin to prepare for this task. First, you'll need an introduction to the legal environment of business. Next, you open the Green Machine, Inc. case file. Upon completing your initial review of the file, you begin thinking about the questions the VP asked you to answer in a narrated PowerPoint presentation. In the next step, you will gather the information you need to answer these questions.
Case One: Green Machine, Inc.
Green Machine, Inc., a company devoted to producing eco-friendly household products, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Colossal Corporation. Green Machine's most famous and best-selling product is the Eco-Widget—a handheld, solar-powered device that recharges a variety of electronics on the go, including cell phones, laptops, and tablets. Colossal Corporation has uncovered an incident of theft at Green Machine: Approximately one month ago, over 400 Eco-Widgets were stolen from Green Machine's Adelphi, Maryland warehouse.
Shortly after the theft was discovered, Colossal Corporation's internal investigator, Ivan, found an online advertisement for the sale of exactly 400 Eco-Widgets. Ivan called the contact on the website and set up a meeting with the seller, Greg Smith. When Ivan, under the guise of being an interested purchaser of the widgets, inquired about Greg's distributor, Greg did not hesitate to reveal that he purchased the widgets from Rachel Jones, his long-time business associate. Ivan inspected the 400 Eco-Widgets, and confirmed they were indeed the same products that were stolen from the warehouse. He then requested a price quote from Greg and asked Greg to hold the products for him for seven days. Greg agreed.
Ivan arranged a meeting with Rachel the very next day, during which he pretended that he wanted to buy electronics from her. He asked Rachel if she had any Eco-Widget distributors she could recommend. Rachel said that she works directly with a Green Machine sales agent named Sam Simpson, and that she recently purchased 400 Eco-Widgets from him at a discounted price. Rachel also said that Sam is quite interested in expanding his business with her, and would provide Ivan with a great deal.
After his meeting with Rachel, Ivan checked the personnel records at Green Machine and identified Sam Simpson as a low-level warehouse employee who has been with the company for over 10 years. Sam's personnel record is spotless, with no prior personnel issues and no complaints. Sam is in charge of night security at the warehouse, and has no history in sales. As a night security guard, Sam is responsible for protecting the warehouse from theft, and is not permitted to sell products. After further investigation, Ivan found company e-mails between Rachel and Sam in which Sam posed as a sales agent. Reading the e-mails, it became obvious that neither Rachel nor Greg knew that the 400 Eco-Widgets were stolen. Ivan then collected video from all of Sam's shifts and was able to locate a film of Sam packing the Eco-Widgets into his personal car and driving them out of the warehouse parking lot.
Your task is to research the legal issues surrounding the stolen property. It is up to you to decipher which laws have been broken, and what the potential remedies are. The vice president wants you to prepare a narrated PowerPoint to present this information to the senior leadership team. Because of the sensitive nature of this case, the vice president has asked you to operate with total confidentiality and without involving the legal department.
Step 2: Gather and Analyze Information
As you read through the materials, try to begin answering the questions the VP asked you. You will likely encounter many new legal concepts, so take notes about which sections apply to this case so that you can easily refer back when you begin to write your presentation.
- Can Colossal Corporation terminate Sam without any notice or a hearing? Why or why not? This question relates to employment-at-will.
- Did Sam, Rachel, or Greg commit any crimes and, if so, which crimes did each person commit? Fully explain your answer for each person as you explore the subject of business criminal law.
- Did Sam, Rachel, or Greg commit any torts and, if so, which torts did each person commit? Read about the law of torts in order to make your determinations.
- What defenses, if any, might the relevant persons allege in defense to the torts and crimes identified in questions 2 and 3? Fully explain your answer for each person as to both torts and crimes.
- Can anyone collect damages? Who can collect and whom would they sue? Detail the specific damages that may be available to potential plaintiffs as you read about tort damages.
In the next step, you'll formalize your thoughts so that they are ready to put into your presentation.
Step 3: Focus on Your Rationale and Conclusions: Create Your Outline
You've finished your research. You've reflected on how the facts and the law come together in this situation. You've analyzed the possible arguments and determined which seem most reasonable, all things considered. Now it is time to formulate these arguments, addressing all the issues raised by the narrative in the file the VP gave you.
Outline your presentation to the board, either on paper or in a Word document; don't make the PowerPoint yet. Review your outline to make certain it covers all relevant points and progresses in a logical order. Identify the major bullet points that you will highlight on your slides, and allocate the appropriate supporting information to each bullet point—make sure that you have adequately covered all the relevant arguments or reasons needed to support them. In the next step, you'll use your outline to create the PowerPoint presentation for the VP.
Step 4: Communicate Your Findings and Conclusions to the Vice President of Human Resources: Create Your PowerPoint
Using your outline and research notes from previous steps, prepare a narrated PowerPoint for the VP. Because you will not deliver this presentation in person, it should follow the form of asynchronous presentations. Be sure to meet the following requirements:
- Include a title slide, with your name on it, introducing the presentation.
- On the presentation slides, include only the major bullet points for each issue.
- Include no more than 20 slides.
- Use your narration to provide the supporting rationale for each major bullet point.
- Include a script of your narration in the notes section of PowerPoint.
- Title your files using this protocol: yourlastname_GreenMachinePowerPoint_date.
- The final slide must present a clear summary of your major conclusions and any recommendations.