Employee & Labor Relations
Case Study Guidelines
Step 1. What are the key issues or problems of the case?
Any case may suggest several interpretations of what the focal concerns are. It is helpful to begin by identifying as many different interpretations as possible. Have each participant state why he or she identified the issues or problems as key.
Step 2. Prioritize the problems.
Participants should focus on the key issues of the case. This may involve selecting one of the issues already raised or creating a new statement that identifies the problem. In some cases, there may be several problems at work, in which case participants may wish to simply rank the problems in terms of either potential importance or timing of impact.
Step 3. Consider whether it is necessary to determine the “cause” of the problem.
In some cases, it is important to determine what caused the problem in order to identify the appropriate solution(s). In other cases, the cause of the problem is not as important as what to do about it. Therefore, when working on a case, always ask whether it is necessary to decide what the cause is.
It should be noted that speculating on the motivations of the individuals in a case seldom does more than sidetrack a case study. By trying to determine why a person acted in a certain way, participants can easily fall into unproductive discussions that revolve around guesswork instead of focusing on the situation at hand. Managers and supervisors often must respond to actions (or lack of actions) made by the people with whom they work. I and reflecting on the motivations of others is, in this regard, only a diversion.
Step 4. Brainstorm the options available to the leader.
There is always one option: Do nothing. However, there are usually several ways to respond to a problem, and helping participants identify those options is an important part of case discussions. Participants should be encouraged to use their best brainstorming skills to determine what the options are.
Step 5. Evaluate the options.
Each option will have advantages and disadvantages. In management and human resource issues, there are several criteria that may be useful for evaluating different options, including:
• The power of the option to solve the problem
• The impact of the option on organizational performance and/or morale
• Legal or regulatory liabilities and requirements
• Cost of the option
• The ability of the person(s) involved to carry out the option (in terms of skill, authority, or basic motivation)
Step 6. Select the optimum solution
The ideal solution will produce the best outcome at the least cost. In management situations, this may not be possible. Therefore, selecting the best solution may involve balancing competing opportunities and constraints with an optimum solution that produces satisfactory outcomes on as many criteria as possible.
Ste0p 7. Describe how the solution should be implemented.
Create a plan or “script” of what the manager or supervisor should do to implement the solution.
CASE ANALYSIS WORKSHEET
1. What are the key issues or problems of the case?
• The sales workers are classified as independent contractors despite being treated like employees
• The company has a lot of power over the sales worker. For example ” The company retains control over the hiring, firing, assignment, and promotion of sales agents. The company determines sales leaders’ territories and does not permit them to sell other insurance products or operate other businesses”
• Workers are treated unfairly
• The sales workers are missing out on compensations that they would otherwise receive if they were considered employees rather than independent contractors’
2. Prioritize the issues or problems.
1) The sales workers are classified as independent contractors despite being treated like employees
2)The sales workers are missing out on compensations that they would otherwise receive if they were considered employees rather than independent contractors’
3) The company has a lot of power over the sales worker. For example ” The company retains control over the hiring, firing, assignment, and promotion of sales agents. The company determines sales leaders’ territories and does not permit them to sell other insurance products or operate other businesses”
2. Is it necessary to identify the cause of the problem?
Yes, since the workers are now suing for what they feel entitled to.
3. Brainstorm the options available:
a. reclassify sales workers as employees
b. Give the ICs more freedom in their work
c. Provide the ICs with compensation with out changing their title?
5. Evaluate the options: Advantages Disadvantages
• option a. company will lose money but avoid a loss suit
• option b: workers will remain IC but won’t be eligible for their compensation
• option c: providing ICs with employee benefits may discourage or insult other employees
6. Select the optimum solution.
Option a and reclassify sales workers as employees an reorganization their duties so it does not align with a the characteristics of a independent contractor.
7. Describe how the solution should be implemented.
Rewrite employee handbook and job profile
Holley, W.H., Jennings, M.J., & Wolters, R.S. (2012). The labor relations process (10th ed.). Cengage Learning.
Walsh, D. J. (2016). Employment law for human resource practice (5th ed.). Cengage Learning.
Recommended Text: American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). Washington, D.C.