BIAC Case Studies



Michelle has worked at the company for six months. She has learned her responsibilities and has adapted to the environment very quickly and smoothly. Her co-workers have not adapted to her, however. As Angela states, “Michelle is a good worker, but all she does is criticize everybody and everything. I don’t like to associate with her.”

If you were one of Michelle’s co-workers, how would you approach her concerning her critical thoughts?

Points to Consider
1. Difference between criticism and constructive criticism
2. Whether Michelle’s critical behavior is impacting on her job performance or just impacting her personal relationships with co-workers
3. Whether Michelle’s critical behavior should/would impact on her performance evaluation

Our BIAC Members Suggest
1. Consider what Michelle’s criticism is doing to the other employees.
2. Consider how Michelle’s criticism is affecting the performance of the other employees.

Discussion Topics
1. Reasons people lose jobs
a. Over 90% of employees lose their jobs because they lack interpersonal skills.


Jill will graduate from high school in June. She is enrolled in a two-year vocational program in high school–Administrative Secretary. She has no immediate plans for post-secondary education.

During her senior year in high school Jill has held five jobs. She started the school year at a local fast food restaurant. After four weeks she didn’t like the attitude of her supervisor, so Jill quit. A week later she began working at another fast food restaurant. She worked for two months, complained that she was not getting enough hours, so she quit. Two weeks later she began working at a local pizza carry-out. After 60 days she asked her supervisor for a pay increase. Her supervisor reminded her that employees are required a 90-day trial period before any raises are considered. Jill worked the additional 30 days, asked for a raise, and was put off again, so she quit. One week later she began working at a local grocery store where she obtained the number of hours and the hourly wage that she was looking for. She also began working for an accounting firm as an internship through school. She does not get paid for her internship.

Jill continues to work at the grocery store and accounting firm, awaiting graduation in three weeks. Would you hire Jill?

Points to Consider
1. Employment hopping
2. Ability to find employment
3. Reasons for quitting her jobs
4. Unpaid internship and job performance
5. School attendance– if she doesn’t like something, she probably wouldn’t show up

Our BIAC Members Suggest
1. Employers look for retention of employees; training costs money.
2. Stay at a job until another job is positively offered because it may not be easy to find another job.
3. Don’t burn bridges; employers and managers are references.
4. Look beyond the immediate need for money.
5. If all employment information is not written on application, the interviewer may ask questions and interviewee may slip up on the answer by supplying information not on application. This creates mistrust.

Discussion Topics
1. Frequent job changes can catch up with you
2. Supply and demand of a particular industry
3. Company hires a person for different reasons than the person wants the job


Joseph is a three-week sales associate at a men’s shoe store in the mall. A professional cleaning company makes weekly stops to thoroughly clean the store. In addition to maintaining the sales floor and assisting customers, the sales associates are assigned housekeeping tasks. Each week a new schedule is posted, on a rotating basis, for the sales associates to clean the bathroom sink or to clean the toilet bowls.

This week Joseph is assigned to toilet bowl cleaning. He finds this task repulsive. He approaches the shift manager, who has sink cleaning duty, to make a deal. He asks the manager to switch assignments with him because “I don’t clean the toilet bowls at home, why should I do it here!”

The shift manager fired Joseph on the spot. Was Joseph’s firing justifiable?

Points to Consider
1. Shared/rotating housekeeping tasks
2. Everyone wants clean facilities
3. Reason for not wanting to clean toilets

Our BIAC Members Suggest
1. Know what is expected before committing to a job or say “no, this is not for me”.
2. There should be a reasonable orientation program for every job where tasks and responsibilities should be thoroughly covered.
3. Joseph could have brought a solution to the problem to the shift manager rather than just stating he would not do this.
4. Evaluate whether appropriate safety standards are being followed for the chemicals used in the cleaning process.
5. Most job descriptions have ‘other duties as assigned’.

Discussion Topics
1. Pros and cons of negotiations
2. Discuss how the shift manager could have handled the situation differently
3. Compare termination policies from local companies
4. Research state laws impacting termination


Clarence works as an administrative assistant at a local steel mill. He punctually arrives at 7:50 a.m. for an 8 a.m. start to his work day. His day ends at 5 p.m. Promptly at 4:35 p.m. Clarence begins cleaning up his work area. He finishes by 4:55 p.m., waits by the clocks to punch out exactly at 5 p.m., and heads for the door.

Is Clarence putting in a full day’s work for a full day’s pay?

Points to Consider
1. Clarence’s punctuality
2. The amount of time Clarence needs to clean up his work area
3. The hours Clarence is being paid to work

Our BIAC Members Suggest
1. What would Clarence do if a work request comes in during his clean up time?
2. Develop organizational skills–don’t wait to clean up everything at one time–clean as you go.
3. Follow the company policy for clean-up procedures; is a clean work station a requirement?
4. Employees are getting paid for eight (8) hours of WORK.
5. Develop time management skills.

Discussion Topics
1. Fair Labor Standards Act
2. Classification of employees
a. hourly vs. salary
b. exempt vs. non-exempt
3. Non-stereotyped (male administrative assistant)
4. Evaluation
a. performance
b. work area (should it be part of evaluation)


Greg is your best supervisor. He is fair, sees and solves problems before they explode, and has an excellent rapport with the employees in the department. He has indicated to you that he likes the challenges he faces in your company. However, you have heard through the grapevine that Greg is being courted by another company in your industry. It would be a real blow to your organization if Greg were to go to another company.

How do you keep Greg interested in your company?

Points to Consider
1. Approach to take to keep your company attractive to Greg
2. Options to insure that your best employees are not enticed away from your company
3. How Greg’s performance can be applied to the rest of the organization

Our BIAC Members Suggest
1. Determine what would motivate Greg and others in the organization and try to provide it.
2. Involve Greg in more decisions affecting the entire organization, and to the extent possible, implement some of his ideas.
3. Develop a succession plan that will place talented employees in the pipeline to be developed. This is not a guarantee that employees will not leave, but it can help to keep talented employees where they can be used an appreciated when the opportunity avails itself.
4. Involve Greg in new employee orientation programs and other development programs from time to time so that other employees can be exposed to a real live role model of the values the organization espouses.
5. Cross train Greg to keep him feeling challenged and to give more depth to his job.
6. Prepare an internal performance appraisal plan for employees so employees know where they stand and know how they are needed for the company.
7. Provide annual performance review process highlighting employee’s strengths, development needs, and career opportunities. This provides feedback for all employees–good and poor.

Discussion Topics
1. Negotiations
2. Compare performance review forms
3. Motivation techniques
4. Employer options for replacing employees
a. short term
b. long term


Gloria has worked in the dispatch office for the past six years. Recently, Gloria’s divorce was finalized, and she now finds herself in the ranks of single parenthood. In her job as a dispatcher she handles 911 calls for both the Police and Fire Departments. Trying to get her life back together, Gloria missed so much time from work that her supervisor suspended her. He also indicated she was in danger of losing her job if she missed more time.

Do you think Gloria’s supervisor treated her fairly?

Points to Consider
1. The importance of Gloria to come to work
2. How the needs of the employee and the needs of the company can be balanced
3. Affect of Gloria’s absenteeism on other employees

Our BIAC Members Suggest
1. Absence from safety related positions could increase the level of risk of the community being served.
2. All available avenues for problem solving should be investigated by other the employer and the employee. The Family and Medical Leave Act, as well as other government sponsored approaches, may help Gloria with her situation.
3. In high pressure jobs, employees can become demoralized when they continuously have to cover for their co-workers, regardless of how noble the reason.

Discussion Topics
1. Compare attendance policies of local companies
2. Research local support groups to address personal problems


Mark is working in the mailroom of a small company. He would like to work in inside sales and service. He took the job because he liked the company, but he wants to get ahead. He doesn’t like the mailroom job. He hangs around the sales and service area and keeps asking for an opportunity for a job in the department. Mark does just enough work in the mailroom to get along because he really wants to work in the sales job. A job becomes vacant, and someone else is selected instead of Mark.

What advice would you give Mark?

Points to Consider
1. Keep pushing the Sales Manager for a job in the department; persistence may pay off.
2. Reasons he did not get the job.
3. What to do to be seriously considered for the job in the future.
a. required education for desired job
b. required experience with the company for desired job

Our BIAC Members Suggest
1. Do the best job that you can do on the job that you are assigned. People get recognized for how well they perform their job whether it is sweeping the floor or managing the company.
2. You can act disappointed but never “bad mouth” the company or the management or say how “unfair” things are.
3. Take advantage of everything that the company has to offer: tuition refund, seminars and training, on-the-job training.
4. Don’t stay in a job where you are unhappy. That will negatively affect your performance and ultimately will not be good for you or the company.

Discussion Topics
1. Life-long learning
2. Educational benefits provided by employers
3. Fair Labor Standards Act


Andy has been with the company less than a year. He was recruited vigorously because he was in the top 5% of his class and showed the kind of potential the company was looking for. However, once on the job, Andy felt he had to “take over” in order to “prove” himself. He caused quite a stir among his fellow employees, especially the longer tenured ones.

If you were Andy’s supervisor, what would you say to him?

Points to Consider
1. Areas covered in orientation program
2. How a team environment can help employee development
3. Ways to gain “respect” in the work area for new employees
4. Team members’ reactions to his “take over”

Our BIAC Members Suggest
1. It is important that Andy have a clear idea of what is expected of him on the job and how his responsibilities fit into the larger corporate picture.
2. In a team environment, Andy will have ample opportunity to have input into solving problems the team faces. In addition, he will learn how to communicate his ideas more effectively.
3. New employees would do well to be active listeners and learn to trust the competence of their team members. On a team that is functioning well, the members of the team will usually share leadership based on the situation. Therefore, there is no need for an autocratic management style. In addition, team mates need to know they can count on the new person to pull his/her share of the load.

Discussion Topics
1. Sensitivity training
2. Research new employee orientation programs from local companies
3. Grievance procedures


Cathy is an inventory planner who takes care of the company’s customers. The customers really like Cathy. Cathy is very demanding and frequently has “words” with the production supervisor and workers in the assembly department because they don’t always get the product shipped on time. Because of her attitude, the people in the assembly department do not like Cathy. Cathy feels that taking care of the company’s customers is the most important part of her job, and she should ignore what others think. After all, the customer is always right. That is what is important.

Are Cathy’s customer relations accurate?

Points to Consider
1. Determine who all the customers are
2. Cathy’s attitude vs. the output of the assembly department
3. Is the customer always right?

Our BIAC Members Suggest
1. There are external and internal customers in a business. The best employees satisfy both.
2. Determine who your customers are and work to satisfy all of them.
3. Each employee is a team member, and without cooperation, the team will not function properly.

Discussion Topics
1. Sensitivity training
2. Employee and customer satisfaction surveys


Barbara is a 20-year-old Administrative Assistant. Her boss, Steve, is a 48-year-old Manager. On Mondays, Steve asks Barbara what she did over the weekend. On Fridays he ask what she is going to do on the weekend. He asks her who she is going out with and where they go. He asks: “Do you like this guy or not?” and other personal question. Occasionally, Steve puts his arm around her shoulders and touches her arm. Barbara does not like the personal questions or the physical contact.

What should Barbara do?

Points to Consider
1. Steve is the boss and has the authority to fire Barbara
2. Report Steve to the company’s Human Resource Department
3. Approach Steve and tell him the questions and physical contact are inappropriate

Our BIAC Members Suggest
1. Offensive actions must initially be dealt with by the person who considers the words or deeds to be offensive. Most of the time, by addressing issues in this manner, the offensive conduct is stopped. The offensive individual knows where the person stands on this issue.
2. If the offensive behavior does not stop, the next step would be to go to the Human Resource Manager who would investigate and take appropriate action.

Discussion Topics
1. Sexual harassment
2. State Board of Human Relations
3. Research grievance process from local companies


George is assigned to a project. He is to come up with a recommendation regarding the purchasing of a new copier for the department. Although George does not use the copier very often, he has a good technical background and understands the workings of machinery.

How should George begin the project and what factors should he consider?

Points to Consider
1. Collect information from various copier companies
2. Talk to the people who operate the copier

Our BIAC Members Suggest
1. The key to successful performance on the job is to involve as many people as possible in making decisions. When people become “part of the solution” they are more likely to support change rather than criticize.
2. Gather all the information available about copiers and meet with the suppliers.
3. Talk with the people who operate the copier and find out what they like and do not like and what problems they have had with the current equipment.
4. Evaluate the proposals and make a recommendation to purchased based upon the recommendations of users, ease of use, price, maintenance costs, service availability, warranties, and references from other customers.
5. George should want both the people above him, at his level, and below him in the organization to recognize him as a contributor and someone with whom they like to deal with.

Discussion Topics
1. Equipment vendors
2. Bidding process
3. Cost in relation to quality
4. Buying vs. leasing
5. New vs. used


David is a new salesman for his company. He has become well acquainted with Terry, one of the company’s experienced salesmen, during his training and weekly sales meetings. One day, as David was filling out his first expense reimbursement form, Terry offered to help him. When the form was complete, David was reluctant to submit it because he though Terry had included inappropriate expense claims. After David expressed his concerns, Terry responded that he had submitted such claims because he heard everyone else did and nobody wanted a new guy to mess up the way things are.

How should David handle this dilemma?

Points to Consider
1. Reimbursable expenses
2. Values

Our BIAC Members Suggest
1. Companies hire employees expecting trustworthiness, honesty and integrity.
2. David must do what he has to do regardless of Terry.
3. Audits are periodically made in companies to verify expenses.
4. Falsifying expense reports can lead to an employee being fired.
5. Call the Integrity Hotline. This is an 800 number to file a complaint. The complaint can be anonymously given or names stated. Follow up is done.

Discussion Topics
1. Ethics training
2. Values clarification
3. Impact of expenses on profits


Margie’s new boss, Mr. Elliott, seems to have difficulty staying on schedule for his appointments and meetings. Invariably, even if one or two appointments go over their time limit, Mr. Elliott is behind all day, much to everyone’s consternation. To make matters worse, other managers, a few of whom are his superiors, frequently pop in his office for a 5-10 minute chat as they see appointments come out of his office.

How can Margie help Mr. Elliott to stay on schedule?

Points to Consider
1. Mr. Elliott’s schedule
2. Company’s or Mr. Elliott’s policy for drop-in visitors

Our BIAC Members Suggest
1. Margie can discuss with Mr. Elliott how she can help him stay on task.
2. Develop schedule using a computer program that will beep when time is up.
3. Establish a closed door policy.

Discussion Topics
1. Time management
2. Communication of policy changes
3. Open vs. closed door


Gary works at the information desk in the Personnel Department. One of his major responsibilities is to provide employees with the forms they request and answer their questions as they fill them out. Often employees are waiting for Gary when he arrives at 8:00 a.m. which gives him no time to get set up or organized. He likes the fact that he stays busy all day until about 3:30. However, between 3:30 and 5:00 p.m. he becomes bored. Almost no one comes to his counter to conduct business in the late afternoon. Therefore, Gary plays card games on his computer.

How could Gary keep his full day active?

Points to Consider
1. Time management
2. Organizational skills

Our BIAC Members Suggest
1. Begin his work day earlier and end earlier if agreeable with the company.
2. An employee is being paid for eight (8) hours of WORK, not 1 1/2 hours to play computer games.
3. Organize and set up for the following day during the down time.
4. Show initiative; find some other work to do; help a colleague demonstrating team work; ask the supervisor for additional tasks.
5. Learn another aspect of the business for possible promotion.

Discussion Topics
1. Time management
2. Investigate how local companies advertise open positions


Ingrid is the new secretary to Mr. James, the bursar of a small college. One afternoon, at 2 p.m., a parent called to speak with Mr. James about an alleged error in her son’s tuition account. Ingrid told her, “Mr. James is at lunch right now.” The parent angrily replied, “Maybe if he gave up his two-hour lunches there wouldn’t be a mistake in my son’s tuition balance!”, and abruptly hung up.

How should Ingrid have handled the caller?

Points to Consider
1. Sufficient information vs. specific information
2. Implications of information given

Our BIAC Members Suggest
1. Tell the caller that the bursar is “not available” rather than “at lunch”.
2. The supervisor should explain to the employee the company policy on how to handle such situations.
3. If using voice mail, be sure to change the message if somebody will be out of the office.

Discussion Topics
1. Telephone techniques
2. Pros and cons of voice mail


Daniel has been a good performer in his job. His last performance review was very favorable. In fact, his supervisor was complimentary on his productivity and problem solving skills. She expressed that Daniel had a lot of potential to move up in the company. Daniel liked the people on his team. They all got along very well. Many times they would go out after work and socialize.

The management team in Daniel’s regional office regularly held quarterly meetings for everyone. These meetings informed employees of new corporate initiatives, communicated progress on departmental goals, and offered a question and answer period where employees could share what concerns were on their minds. Today’s meeting was a little different.

The vice president of Daniel’s regional office communicated a new corporate initiative which was redesigning the structure of Daniel’s department. His department was going to gradually be centralized into another regional office location out of state over the next 12 months. Employees would be allowed to relocate if they wanted to, but they would need to reapply for their jobs. Daniel was shocked, angry, and concerned about how this would impact his employment. The tone of the question and answer session turned very ugly.

If you were Daniel, what would you do?

Points to Consider
1. Possible next steps
2. Job hunting vs. relocating

Our BIAC Members Suggest
1. Each individual will handle any situation differently. It is important to recognize your own thoughts, feelings, and fears. It is best, however, to use outside avenues from the work place to express your concerns. Some options would be:

  • Take advantage of the company’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP), if available.
  • Rely on family and friends for support. Discuss the situation with them and talk about your next options. Avoid demonstrations of anger at work or any behavior that would adversely affect perceptions of your own work performance.
  • Keep open lines of communication with your supervisor. Ask questions about the transition and your options. Remember that your supervisor is usually only the message carrier. Their job may also be affected by this transition as well. If used wisely, he or she could be an asset in helping your find another position.
  • Find ways to release your stress. Your situation is bound to become more stressful due to coworkers becoming disenchanted with your employer and moving on to other positions.
  • Obtain services of a skilled facilitator to handle anger.

2. Daniel has 12 months to decide what he wants to do and find another position. Time is on Daniel’s side.

  • Avoid impulse reactions.
  • Decide what you want to do next. Can you relocate? Do you wish to try and find another position within the company? Do you wish to stay through until the end?
  • Contact the Human Resource Department or supervisor for some career coaching.
  • Update your resume.
  • Seek outplacement services.
  • Conduct a job search.

3. Many people who are not directly impacted by a major organizational change experience similar thoughts, feelings, and concerns that their coworkers experience. They may also experience a “survivor’s guilt” complex. Many of the same points in the first point are true for the survivor. Be empathetic to your coworkers.
4. Large meetings are not good when announcing change–companies should strive to keep the group small.
5. Employees should take the threats (changes) and change them into positive opportunities.
6. How you personally deal with change controls the opportunities available.

Discussion Topics
1. Relocation
a. research a desirable city of choice
2. Outplacement services
3. Career coaching
4. Sensitivity training
5. Rumor control


Linda enjoys her customer service position. She has been with the company for over one year. She has developed some close friendships with her coworkers. They frequently go out together on the weekends to see a movie, eat dinner, or meet at a local club to dance. Linda met Jerry at a birthday party for one of her coworkers. Jerry works at the same company, but in a different department.

Jerry asked Linda out for a date. The two of them hit it off from the start. They started dating each other on a regular basis. For the first couple of months their relationship was growing nicely for both of them. Jerry regularly sent Linda flowers and surprised her with little romantic gifts. Sometimes these gifts were on her desk when she arrived at work in the morning.

After a couple months, however, Linda began noticing some annoying habits of Jerry. Trouble always seemed to find him. He was in trouble at work with his supervisor for being out of the work area. Jerry also became very demanding of Linda’s time and attention. He would call her from another location in the building and talk with her on the phone for 20-30 minutes during the day. Linda’s supervisor, Anne, noticed that Linda was distracted during the workday.

Anne confronted Linda privately about her performance on her job and how she was not being as productive as she could be.

If you were Linda, how would you handle this situation?

Points to Consider
1. Company dating policy
2. Personal calls during work hours
3. Sexual harassment
4. Violence in the workplace

Our BIAC Members Suggest
1. Linda should sit down with Jerry and talk about the company policies of dating colleagues and making/receiving personal calls during work hours. The offended person should inform the offender.
2. The Human Resource Manager could talk with Jerry concerning company policies of dating colleagues and making/receiving personal calls during work hours.
3. Most companies discourage dating between employees, particularly between managers and hourly employees.
4. Bringing personal relationships on the job affects performance on the job.
5. Many companies have policies that family cannot work in the same department or report to the same supervisor.
6. If not already in place, companies should have an internal sexual harassment policy and training program where all employees are advised as to what is and is not acceptable.
7. Employees should keep outside life outside of the work environment.
8. Employees should be cognizant of how personal relationships impact on their work performance.
9. Employees get paid for eight (8) hours of WORK.

Discussion Topics
1. Sexual harassment
2. Violence in the workplace
3. Ethics


Theodore and Beatrice are the heart of the computer department. They are well known throughout the organization as two extremely knowledgeable employees when it comes to mainframe computers. However, to address the organization’s Y2K problem, a consultant has recommended the organization scrap its mainframe computer system and adopt a server based one. Theodore and Beatrice have been promised training and plenty of opportunity for their input, but the two are not happy about this change.

If you were their supervisor, what would you say to them?

Points to Consider
1. “Selling” employees on change
2. Advantages vs. disadvantages of training as a transitioning technique
3. Employee options

Our BIAC Members Suggest
1. People asked to change from systems they know to unfamiliar ways of doing things tend to appreciate a more straight forward approach when being told of the change. Being given the advantages and disadvantages of why the change is taking place and what this change will mean to them will allow those affected by the change to make realistic decisions about the change.
2. Training can go a long way in making one more comfortable with change, especially when the trainee can quickly master the skills needed for the change. Training, however, is not a panacea and will not substitute for the compassion and understanding that has to be shown in these situations.
3. Theodore and Beatrice must adopt a mindset that this threat of change is an opportunity for learning and growth. With their years of experience, they could be instrumental in a leadership capacity helping their coworkers to see a more positive perspective.

Discussion Topics
1. Life-long learning
2. Education/training reimbursement
3. Sensitivity training


Todd could not tolerate the way a co-worker, Bob, was always bragging. It was a bad situation–Todd and Bob had to work together. Todd knew it was important that they get along; however, the situation seemed to be getting worse. Todd dreaded each day at work with Bob since he had to listen to Bob’s constant bragging. Todd believed that he had done everything he could to increase his tolerance level, but Bob forced Todd’s tolerance window shut merely by his presence. Todd was ready to quit his job, but he realized Bob did a lot of things he liked. Todd also realized that Bob carried his own weight at work.

Is this Todd’s problem or Bob’s problem?

Points to Consider
1. Dealing with diverse personalities
2. Ramifications of quitting job
3. Grounds for dismissal from job

Our BIAC Members Suggest

Discussion Topics


Several customer complaints were made to the management of a small department store about the poor service of the sales associates. Most of the complaints mentioned situations taking place between noon and 1 p.m.

Experienced sales associates received their choice of lunch hours. Most went to lunch between noon and 1 p.m. This left the newer, inexperienced people to handle the customers. Customer traffic is quite heavy during this time.

The lunch hour policy was changed. Lunches are now to be taken only between 11 a.m. and noon or between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. Harriet had been taking her lunch hour at noon since she began working there three years ago. As she usually had lunch with a friend, Harriet continued leaving at noon. The manager noticed this and warned her that if it occurred again, she would be fired. Harriet, thinking she had “earned” the right to a noon lunch hour, felt the manager was being unfair.

Does Harriet have a right to continue taking a noon lunch hour?

Points to Consider
1. Anticipating potential problems when changing policies
2. Resolving problems as a team
3. Defiance in the workplace

Our BIAC Members Suggest
1. Establish a rotating schedule for lunch breaks.
2. Schedule the most experienced workers during the busiest times.
3. Establish a retraining program when changing policies.
4. Set a definite start date for change.

Discussion Topics
1. Open communication between employees and employer
2. Modify training on yearly basis
3. Develop mentoring program (experienced with less experienced)


Mary worked in a building away from her company’s main office. As part of her job, Mary was to supervise a crew of workers at the customer site and to build a long-term relationship with the client. Mary was a very personable individual, and management felt she would represent the company well.

Since Mary worked independently, management frequently contacted her to ensure that she was adhering to company policy. However, almost every time they tried to reach her by telephone, they had to leave a message on the answering machine. Mary never returned management calls. When management did get in touch with her, Mary would indicate that she was on the other telephone line or was out in the plant.

One day the client called management and said that Mary refused to find a replacement worker for someone who was not meeting his work expectation. When management approached Mary regarding this, she indicated that the client did not know what they wanted. After some investigation, management discovered that Mary was a personal friend of the person being released from the job. When Mary was questioned regarding her personal involvement with the worker, she indicated to management that the client was at fault. She said that the client had been sexually harassing her, and when she challenged his authority, he retaliated.

If you were Mary’s supervisor, how would you handle this?

Points to Consider
1. Filing a sexual harassment claim as a cover-up
2. Employee-supervisor relationships
3. Hiring friends and/or relatives
4. Work ethics and attitude

Our BIAC Members Suggest
1. Mary seems to be using her own policy of answering/returning calls rather than a company-established policy. Through training make sure employees know the company policy.
2. Remove Mary until the situation has been thoroughly investigated.
3. Review the company harassment policy during the training period.

Discussion Topics
1. Role clarification
2. Company handbooks
3. Sexual harassment


One year ago Renee indicated to the company that her eyesight was deteriorating.

Nine months ago the company implemented a “paperless” environment by installing computers on everyone’s desk. The installation of this equipment would enable the company to operate more effectively and efficiently.

Management noticed that after installing the computer system, Renee was not utilizing the computer to do her job. Management met with Renee to stress the importance of using the system.

If you were management, how would you approach Renee concerning her work behavior?

Points to Consider
1. Health vs. ability to complete work
2. Renee’s resistance of technological advances
3. Renee vs. co-workers’ ability to do their jobs
4. Employee’s responsibility for company growth and success
5. American Disabilities Act

Our BIAC Members Suggest
1. Review essential functions of Renee’s job and share these facts with Renee.
2. Technology changes require further employee training.
3. Employers must be well-versed on the American Disabilities Act and can then share information with employees such as Renee.
4. Once Renee gets the proper training, develop a checklist of how Renee should complete tasks.
5. Explore devices that can help Renee complete her tasks–screen enhancer, etc.

Discussion Topics
1. American Disabilities Act
2. Devices available


A year ago management noticed that Louis was not being effective at his job. When management approached Louis, he indicated that he was having difficulty with his eyesight and this was hindering his ability to do his job. Management met with Louis to determine whether his eyesight was actually causing the problem. They set up guidelines to help Louis handle the workload.

Another year past and the company continued to notice that Louis was still unable to handle the workload. His work performance had become worse. He was forgetting important facts that needed to be documented. He was leaving customers on hold for an extended period of time. He was letting the telephone ring endlessly. He was forgetting when he put someone on hold. His work was piling up. There were times when he would just sit at his desk and “stare into space.”

If you were management, how would you approach Louis concerning his work behavior and what action would you take regarding his lack of improvement?

Points to Consider
1. Employee competency vs. company profit
2. Medical problem vs. irresponsibility
3. Impact of ill employees on company profits
4. American Disabilities Act

Our BIAC Members Suggest
1. Ask for doctor’s proof to verify eye problems.
2. Must consider how the employee is to be evaluated, which would indicate whether Louis was fulfilling his role in the company.
3. Employer must reconsider keeping Louis on payroll if the problem continues and/or if changes made become financially prohibitive.

Discussion Topics
1. Employee evaluations
2. American Disabilities Act


Stan was hired to work in a branch office but reported directly to Margaret, who was located at the main office. Margaret would talk with Stan several times during the week to insure that he was comfortable at his job and that he was doing his job effectively.

After six months, a decrease in business required Stan to be relocated to the main office. Stan’s duties and responsibilities remained the same. After one week, Margaret noticed that Stan was not performing his job responsibilities to company policy nor was he keeping up with his duties and responsibilities on a daily basis. When approached by Margaret, Stan took objection to her concerns. His attitude changed. He would arrive to work moody. He would glare at Margaret, talk to her in a harsh manner, and stomp around the office. One morning when Margaret was talking to Stan about his lack of improvement, he pounded his fist on the desk and with an elevated voice told Margaret that she was talking down to him, and he would not stand for it.

If you were Margaret, how would you handle Stan’s behavior?

Points to Consider
1. Verification of duties
2. Accepting supervisor’s authority
3. Attitude
4. Stan’s right to ‘run his own show’
5. Female management vs. male non-management

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Discussion Topics