Final Assignment: Constructive Dismissal

This assignment relates to the following Course Learning Requirements: 

CLR 1:  Relate the Canadian legal framework to the issues impacting the workplace and human resources practitioners

CLR 2: Understand that at the present time, legislators and courts are dealing with many unique legal issues regarding the workplace that require innovative applications of the law

CLR 3: Assess a particular human resources issue from a legal perspective by using specific areas of laws that relate to the workplace

CLR 4: Understand that a broad knowledge of laws that deal specifically and indirectly to the workplace will be critical to your success as a human resources practitioner

Objective of this Assignment:   

This assignment will ask you to analyze a case study and understand the human resource issue and how relevant legislation applies. You will need to apply specific areas of the law to deal with the unique legal issues and mitigate risk.

Instructions

Step 1: Read the following scenario:

BACKGROUND

Debbie Biggs has been an employee at FUN Packaging for 8 years. She started in the organization as a customer service representative and 2 years ago was promoted to customer services manager. Ms. Biggs has an excellent work record with no infractions. Since the start of her employment, Ms. Biggs has been very open with her Employer that she was being treated for depression but there was no indication that it would adversely affect her work. With the new promotion, Ms. Biggs now reported to the Director of Customer Service, Jason Brown. FUN Packaging is a small organization which started as a mom and pop shop. It was recently sold to a new employer and has expanded drastically. The new owners have been creating and updating HR policies for the organization. They currently have a “Whistleblower” Policy which encourages employees to confidentially report any concerns at the workplace. They also have a short “Bullying and Harassment” Policy whose purpose is to prevent and address incidents of bullying and harassment. This policy asks employees to report incidents and guarantees an investigation into any allegations.

INCIDENTS

#1 – THE REPORT

As part of Ms. Biggs duties, she is to do a random audit every month of customer service calls. This entails her shadowing the representatives and providing feedback on their customer service. This report goes to Mr. Brown who reports it to his superior. Mr. Brown uses the report to identify any issues with the customer service being provided. It is a representation of his management abilities and his boss values positive reports. On the week that Ms. Biggs was to do the audit, she was ill due to her depression and was off work for a period of 1 week. As the reports were monthly, and this leave took place at the end of the month, there was no opportunity to do the report upon her return. When she came back, Mr. Brown immediately approached her and demanded that she see him in his office. His office is located next to the customer services representatives and is a glass wall office. Ms. Biggs went to meet with Mr. Brown. Mr. Brown did not close his office door and immediately began to berate Ms. Biggs about the report. He stated that she didn’t care about her job, was useless, and was a failure for not controlling her illness. This conversation was overheard by many other employees. Ms. Biggs was incredibly shaken up and was unable to respond. She left the office crying and returned to her station.

#2 – CONTUNIUED ACTIONS

Since this incident, Mr. Brown subjected Ms. Biggs to unrelenting and increased verbal abuse. He regularly used profane language when speaking to her and was vocal in front of other staff. He belittled her and even made a point of bringing other employees to form an audience when he bereted her and showed his disdain for her. These culminating incidents devasted Ms. Biggs and spiralled her into further depression. She reported these incidents to the Vice President. He assured her he would look into these allegations.

#3 – THE FINAL INCIDENT

A month later, she was called into the Vice President’s office for the outcome of the investigation. She was told that the complaints were unsubstantiated. He also told her that she would be held accountable for making false statements and undermining her supervisor. She received a written warning for this. Mr. Brown however, received no discipline or caution. One morning, Mr. Brown received a call from head office stating that a serious customer service complaint had escalated. It stated that the call was taken at his location and they were unable to resolve the issue. As the customer services manager, Mr. Brown immediately went to address and blame Ms. Biggs for this incident.  He called her stupid and lazy, among many other names. Ms. Biggs left the building crying and went home immediately prior to the end of her shift. As she walked out, Mr. Brown yelled after her stating, “If you leave, you are walking off the job and you might as well not come back!”.

Four days later Ms. Biggs sent an email to the Vice President stating that she did not quit but will not come back to work until her complaints about Ms. Brown are properly investigated and resolved to her satisfaction. They never were, and she never returned to work. A month later, Ms. Biggs received a registered letter stating that her employment was terminated with just cause for walking off the job. Ms. Biggs proceeded to file a lawsuit for constructive dismissal and damages.

Step 2: As the hired legal counsel for FUN Packaging, you have been made aware of the above scenario. You are asked to draft a risk report on the situation. In this report, you will:

  • Summarize the facts of the case
  • Analyze whether the organization had just cause to terminate Ms. Biggs’ employment
  • Analyze the strength and weaknesses of Ms. Biggs’ claim of constructive dismissal
  • Present the risk to the organization of this lawsuit
  • Offer a suggested resolution to the case

Step 3: Length and Formatting

Your assignment is to be submitted in MS WORD format. It should be submitted with the following guidelines:

  • This report will be no longer than 1700 words (before appendices, table of contents, bibliography etc.).
  • The assignment will be marked based on the Rubric on page 3 and 4.
  • Include a cover page with the course code and course name, the assignment number, the title of your assignment, your student ID, your name, the instructor’s name, and the date the assignment is created.
  • Ensure the first page of your assignment has the title at the top of the page and the sections of your report have headings and subheadings to chunk your paper into sections for each of the topics you are writing about.
  • Font should be either Calibri or Arial, 11pt. Text must be double spaced but table may be single spaced.
  • You must cite all your sources of information using APA formatting. 
  • Create a separate reference page that lists all of your sources that you have cited in text. Sources include software used. Also, personal communications from a professional in the field count as a reference source. For citation and referencing examples, see https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/

Assignment Grading Rubric (35%)

Criteria Excellent 80-100% Good 50-79% Requires Improvement <50% Points  
Assignment Quality All information offered is accurate
All views are clearly expressed and well explained  
Contains original ideas, connections or applications  
Most information offered is accurate  
Most views are clearly expressed and explained
Contains mainly original ideas, connections or applications
Some or no accurate information offered
Views are rarely or never clear and require further explanation  
Many non- original ideas, or unclear connections or applications
/15
Comments        
Assignment Knowledge and Skills Demonstration       The assignment content demonstrates an exceptional understanding of the certification process.  
Student is able to exceptionally analyze the case facts to determine the strengths and weaknesses of a just cause termination.      
All ideas are clearly developed, organized logically, and connected with effective transitions    
Explores ideas, supports points fully using a balance of evidence, uses effective reasoning to make useful distinctions  
All relevant course and topic links are made
The assignment content demonstrates a good understanding of the certification process.  
Student is able to somewhat analyze the case facts to determine the strengths and weaknesses of a just cause termination. 
Some unified and coherent ideas are developed with effective transitions  
Supports most ideas with effective examples, and/or references, and details, makes key distinctions
Most relevant course and topic links are made
The assignment content demonstrates some understanding of the certification process.  
Student is unable analyze the case facts to determine the strengths and weaknesses of a just cause termination.     
Develops and organizes ideas that are not necessarily connected. 
Some ideas seem illogical and/or unrelated  
Presents ideas in general terms, most ideas are inconsistent/unsupported, and reasoning is flawed or unclear  
Some or no relevant course and topic links are made
/15
Comments        
Assignment Structure Formatted as per assignment details
Structure and format enhances delivery of the information
Clear language is used which leads to easy readability  
Correct grammar and spelling is consistently used
No issues with APA using citations or references.
Formatted as per assignment details in most components  
Structure and format fits well with the delivery of the information  
Mostly clear language is used  with minor readability issues  
Few or no spelling and/or grammatical errors  
Minor issues with APA citations or references
Formatting has not been followed  
Structure and format is unclear and impedes delivery of the information  
Language used is often unclear which impedes readability
Many spelling and grammatical errors correct use of APA formatting for citations and references[1]
/5
Comments        
Total Points       /35

[1] If there is evidence of missing citations or references, this could constitute plagiarism and will receive a grade of ‘0’. The regulations of academic dishonesty will apply.

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