0

Hypermarkets

Hypermarkets

Hypermarkets are huge superstores. Hypermarkets have been very successful in Europe and other world markets. Many retailers now operate formats such as hypermarkets that perform many wholesale functions. In return, many large wholesalers are setting up their own retailing operations. Another reason why it is a challenge for hypermarkets in certain areas is because of location.

In western countries such as India hypermarkets would have to be located within cities opposed to the outskirts of urban areas which would create a problem of location. “People have cars but it’s a nightmare driving back and forth,” Padmanabhan says, “So if you’re looking at opening a big footprint store in a city you have a lot of constraints, apart from availability of space and location, regulation and things like that” (Padmanabhan, 2010). Wal-Mart expected the Korean consumers to drive to its stores for price shopping as the American consumers do. However, this location strategy did not match well with the Korean consumers’ lifestyle and shopping habits.

As the “youdecide” stated adapting to the culture of another area is a reason why the hypermarkets are not common in some places.  In North America where consumers want low price, Wal-Mart’s low price offering was matched with customers’ definition of value. Wal-Mart has retreated from Korea and Germany. This is because Wal-Mart needed to localize its products and services to foreign market’s tastes and preferences.

Competitive advantages foreign retailer enjoy in Asian Markets

The key is the ability to adapt to overseas market conditions largely determines success of international operations of foreign retailers such as Wal-Mart and Carrefour.  Wal-Mart’s main competitive advantage has been its ability to offer the most competitive price to consumers by having a cost efficient operating system that ensures low costs. Another advantage is their spending power; they are able to penetrate the Asian market through small acquisitions or joint venture arrangement because of this. Being the first U.S. retailer in many of these markets will prove to be a meaningful competitive advantage during the next decade. By the time most rivals start to enter these markets, Wal-Mart and/or Carrefour should have an well-established presence, and a well-developed understanding of local customs and shopping tendencies.

Competitive advantages of local retailers

Local competitors have a very good competitive advantage they were their first. This makes them known by the public, adjusted to the culture and has relationship with distribution channels. In terms of location; major Korean retailers had already located their stores in key commercial areas and developed their distribution networks to optimize the merchandising and the retailing operations prior entry of foreign markets.  In terms of marketing, it is critical that the stores are built in lucrative locations such as residential and key commercial areas with high levels of consumer traffic. However, it appeared the foreign late-comers such as Wal-Mart or Carrefour was not able to capture strategically important retail location.

 

 

Works Cited

 

Gereffi, G. (2007). Wal-Mart in China. Retrieved April 4, 2011, from Harvard Edu: http://www.hcs.harvard.edu/~hapr/winter07_gov/gereffi.pdf

Padmanabhan, P. (2010). India retail: Foreign chains eye the potential, but will they succeed? Retrieved April 4, 2011, from Indead Knowledge edu: http://knowledge.insead.edu/contents/paddy.cfm

 

 

0

Teenage Sexual

Teenage Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

 

For millions of teenagers working in the American workforce, being sexually harassed is not an uncommon occurrence in their daily work environment.   Unfortunately, teenagers in the workforce become particularly vulnerable to acts of harassment because they lack awareness about their rights as an employee and do not have enough work experience or maturity to address situations that arise in the work environment.   These teenagers are usually part-time workers, overlooked for training, view their supervisors as having the ultimate authority over their job, and are more likely to be unaware of harassment policies than other workers within the workforce.   Despite all of these factors, more and more organizations in industries like retail (i.e. Kmart), entertainment (i.e. movie theatres), and food services (i.e. McDonalds) to be specific, have turned to teenagers as a key source of labor.   In doing so, these organizations have exposed themselves to the liability of protecting the youth that they employ and must take even greater measures to prevent these teenagers from being subjected to a hostile work environment.
Where these organizations fail to protect the youth that they employ, the federal (and State) government, by way of passing labor laws and through the administration of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), attempts to ensure that teens are fairly educated and represented if such a hostile work environment occurs.   It is through the EEOC’s guardianship

that the government has recognized as well as acknowledged a need to protect teenagers from harassment in the workplace and have more recently been active in taking action against organizations that fail to do so.   Despite these efforts, an increasing number of organizations continue to employ teenagers and have either learned to adopt rules to regulate their work environment or have allowed such hostile work environments to further exist without the fear of punishment or consequence.   As a result, defending teenagers has and will become a more prevalent occurrence within the workforce that will require more awareness by employers and more protections from Congress to ensure that an equal and safe work environment is being provided to all employees.
Beginning with the passage of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) in 1938, Congress granted children (i.e. teens) the right to work while at the same time establishing a foundation of protections that directly affected this right within the American workforce.   Under the original terms of the FLSA, it was not required that a parent give consent to their child in order for them to work but did limit the type and amount of work a child could perform.   Specifically, it prohibited any person under the age of eighteen from performing hazardous work including those jobs that entailed mining, roofing, demolition, or operating a motor vehicle to name a few.   Since its enactment, though, the FLSA has been amended

several times and continues to evolve with changes in the American workforce.   Many, if not all of State governments have supplemented the act with their own legislation that provides teens even greater protections if they were to enter into the workforce.   Where the federal and state child labor laws differ, the law providing greater protections for children usually applies if an issue were to arise.   Despite granting teenagers the right to work and undergoing several amendments, the FLSA itself still limits teenagers to perform jobs in industries that are non-hazardous.   As a result, it forces them to enter or accept jobs within the workforce that are more commonly found within these industries (i.e. retail and food service) that have been known to fostering hostile work environments.
In addition to the FLSA and with more of a focus on preventing workplace harassment, Congress passed Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.   Under Title VII, Congress specifically addresses discrimination based on sex and later defines sexual harassment in the workplace.   As one of two types of sexual harassment that can occur in the workplace, Congress declared that a hostile work environment is one that occurs when unwelcome comments or conduct based on sex are so severe or pervasive that they unreasonably interfere with an employee’s work performance and/or create an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment for that employee.

 

0

Attention:

 

 

Attention: CanGo Management Team

Subject:  JSHLD Week Six Analysis

 

JSHLD continues its observation of the CanGo organization operations and have recommended solutions to improve CanGo’s performance both as a smooth performing operation as well as a profitable organization.  We believe that CanGo is a solid operation with a solid future for its employees and investors.

#1 Lack of Research

 

CanGo is looking forward to expanding their organization by looking into new business ventures including online gaming.  While new ventures are a great opportunity for the company to remain competitive, CanGo must do the research regarding online gaming and all other ventures prior to jumping in head first. Research will assist the company in analyzing the online gaming market and allow them to make an informed decision regarding entering into the business of online gaming.  Researching the market give CanGo a clear picture of the challenges they might face and also help them make some tough decisions.

JSHLD Consulting Inc. recommends that CanGo conduct research on how to price their service, how to promote their service and what market audience to target (Suttle, 2011).  CanGo should identify the customers and then they should study their competitors (Suttle, 2011).  Research can assist CanGo with the knowledge of what the competitors are charging for the same product. Once this research is done, CanGo can use the information to market their product for a better price.

 

#2 Lack of Decision Making

 

CanGo appears to be scattered in regards to decision making.  The company has seems to have a vision, however they are not clear on how to execute their vision  CanGo must take the time to make firm and solid decision that will be beneficial to the organization.  When it comes to decision making they should define the issue, discuss it with the owners and managers, choose the best result, discuss alternatives, costs and analyze the result (Tanck, 2008).  Once this is done the management staff can make a decision that will be in the best interest of the company.

JSHLD Consulting Inc. recommends that CanGo develops a decision making process which will help them understand that they must finish one venture before starting a new venture.  The decision to completely staff the company should come before deciding on what the new venture will be. Below is a chart to help with the decision making process (Tanck, 2008).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#3 Lack of Prioritizing

 

A lack of planning and pursuing poor business ventures is a recipe for disaster and in many cases organizational failure. An effective and comprehensive competitive analysis aids leaders in making critical decisions such as weighing the positives and negatives in regards entering new markets and measuring their opportunities of achieving success.

CanGo has made great strides and experienced a large amount of success in their short four year history; but in essence they have reached a point in which innovation and creativity is required to expand into new markets. For an E-Commerce book, music, and video game company such as CanGo to overcome is establishing themselves in a market that is dominated.  Warren suggests that they need to prioritize what they are doing by looking at the pros and cons of what the employees are working on. Maria suggest it may be a balancing act, warren tells Maria that if they are trying to get something for nothing the quality will dip unless they pay massive overtime.

Recommendation: Following a Prioritizing Method

CanGo can improve the outcome of their project wither it be by cost or other factors by making an analysis of duty priorities. This could be done by weighted tasks; impact on business, risk or level of investment required. “In business management, optimum utilization of resources, particularly the human resource, is achieved when there is no free time available to a resource, or it is the minimum possible” (Bansal, 2010). It is imperative for Cango to have a clear understanding of time management to develop a plan to prioritize. As a manager Warren cannot many different tasks as they “pop up” due to some being more current to situations. Tasks must be related to objectives CanGo wants to achieve; therefore prioritizing becomes necessary.

For example in Cango; Liz  is planning to go into new markets in the meeting the group discusses if to go into a new market and pros and cons wit will have on the company. However CanGo is not in financial position to fund all of the suggested ventures. Using the proper prioritizing method will allow them to see which option will take longer to complete, whether the technical and organizational risk are so high that it may not be worth the effort.

Method:

Covey’s Quadrants

Stephen Covey describes a high-level prioritization scheme. In this scheme, tasks are categorized by four quadrants:

  • QI – Important and Urgent
  • QII – Important but Not Urgent
  • QIII – Not Important but Urgent
  • QIV – Not Important and Not Urgent

“In this scheme Dr. Covey notes that highly effective people make time for the QII activities… doing so can reduce the time spent in other quadrants” (Keener, 2008). Although QI – QIV prioritization may not indicate which task to tackle first or the second task etc, the task doer would have to decide quadrants your tasks are in. This can be done by applying weights to the process.

Project priorities can also be based on a set of criteria. Cost-benefit or cost-performance analyses are examples of this sort of priority setting. Whatever choices yield the greatest value on the criterion measure get highest priority. It will help CanGo to consider the opinion of everyone in a brainstorming session, as well as give due weight age to various criteria and prioritize pressing problems over others. This helps determine which problems need to be solved first in order to meet project / organizational objectives.

#4 Lack of Financial Backing

 

Finance is critical for starting, maintaining and growing small and medium businesses. It is vital that both start ups and existing businesses have access to the full range of debt and equity financing options. The Small Business Administration is an excellent resource of information and financing support for a small business.  www.sba.gov has a small business planner and information about SBA Loans (government backed) and grants.   Another resource is Venture Capital, in which potential investors offer $1,000,000 or more.  Equity financing, on the other hand, may be a better option for CanGo, assuming that you have the wonderful, can’t miss business that you think it is. Equity financing is basically selling a piece of the business to an investor.

In CanGo’s case, what they need to consider is some sort of combination–find a partner who is in good standing and can contribute some of the needed equity and maybe CanGo can get an SBA loan, secured by the necessary collateral, maybe using the partner’s backing. A fair exchange may be that CanGo put up the equity and the partner putting up the capital. This may work, but really depends on the lender’s guidelines.  A way to get the financial boost your business needs to grow, expand or survive harsh economic times, crowd funding is a new practice often carried out over the Internet (No Author, 2011).

#5 Lack of Staffing

 

One of the main concerns that CanGo is dealing with is its staffing.  CanGo is currently under staffed and needs to get help for all the projects and ventures that it wants to pursue.  The problems concerns that CanGo if faced with is getting talented people without having to pay high salaries and benefits,  The reason for this concern is that CanGo  does not have the money at this time.

The current solution on the table at CanGo is to give more work to the CanGo team that is already loaded down with work.  This is not an effective solution in that overworked associates tend to become more stressful and moody.  Some signs of an overwork associate are:

ü     The quality of their work slips below normal quality and expectations

ü     They are more likely to feel anger towards their employers

ü     They are more likely to resent other workers.

Some of the symptoms of an overworked associate are:

ü     Job dissatisfaction

ü     Low morale

ü     Short temper

ü     Headaches

ü     Sleep disturbances

One of the solutions to helping your current associates from being overworked while at the same time saving money is to hire interns; it is becoming common place for companies to use interns to help current associates in times of need.  This is a positive solution for several reasons:

ü     Offers employers a cost-effective program for recruiting highly qualified and motivated students to meet the company needs

ü     Provides well-prepared short-term employees to assist current employees, so they have opportunity to pursue higher projects

ü     Meets peak or seasonal needs without a long-term commitment

ü     Offers a low-cost method of training potential future employees

ü     Creates a recruiting edge on campus

ü     Helps to identify potential future hires, a pipeline for candidates

ü     Acts as a recruiting activity with Low Risk

ü     Provides an opportunity for supervisory experience for developing employees

ü     A way to gain short term talent

ü     Provide the organization with fresh ideas

ü     Fulfill a civic and professional responsibility by providing students with real work experience

ü     Low-cost, high quality labor

ü     Build Relationships with Local Colleges

ü     Increase Diversity

By using an intern service through the local college is a powerful community building tool as well as preparing our youth to become future leaders by providing real life on the job training that can’t be taught in a classroom.  It has been JSHLD experience that interns bring a refreshing and recharging level of excitement to the office environment which historically has improved office moral and efficiency.

#6 Lack of Appraisal Process

The last issue we observed with the CanGo organization is its employee evaluation process.  The current process is not organized.   The employee appraisal listed issues and not accomplishments for the employee.  The evaluation included errors and attendance only, which is not an effective appraisal process.  During an evaluation management was responsible for reviewing a poor performer, who clearly needed to be advised of the issues that were listed on the review.  The manager conducting the review seemed unsettled with conveying the negative feedback.  Although the numbers showed a poor performer the reviewer did not explain to the employee the errors that were important and could potentially become a problem for the organization.

Rating an employee solely on errors and attendance is not an organized process.   The employee being evaluated seemed very nervous regarding the outcome of the evaluation.   Employees may run into some surprises on the annual evaluation; however they should not be nervous and unaware of what to expect on the appraisal.  The worker should have some idea how they coming along in their position if the employee and manager are communicating on a consistent basis.

Our recommendation is for CanGo to re-vamp their current appraisal process to one that is clear, concise, one that is fair for each employee and one that suits the needs of the organization.  Appraisals should list room for improvement, accomplishments as well as goals for the employee.  In addition the employee should have some idea prior to their review how they are doing.   Effective manager always inform their employees throughout the year how they are doing so that the appraisal is not a surprise.  With that said our organization should consider the following when revising the appraisal for the company:

ü     Company should establish a filing system which lists accomplishments and room for improvement.

ü     CanGo should give feedback each quarter

ü     Disciplinary action should be documented

ü     Management by Objectives which should be done quarterly to review goals

ü     Follow action which is conducted after the review for feedback from the employee and discuss goals.

The points listed above will give assist CanGo in creating an appraisal process that will is tailored to the needs of their organization and one that will make the appraisal process a positive experience for each employee.

CONCLUSION

 

JSHLD consulting has carefully reviewed CanGo and noticed six areas of improvement for the organization.  We have listed the issues and also made recommendations to the company regarding the issue.  The six recommendations were regarding the lack of research, decision making, prioritizing, financial backing, staff and appraisal process.

JSHLD Consulting Inc. highly recommends that CanGo review the issues identified and move forward with the recommendations we have suggested.  JSHLD stands firm on the recommendations and are confident with some changes in the CanGo structure the company will be well on their way to having a competitive edge in the Gaming industry.

REFERENCES

 

Allen, P. (2011). Designing and implementing and effective performance appraisal system.  Retrieved October 7, 2011 from:

http://www.allbusiness.com/human-resources/workforce-management/479508-1.html

Bansal, R., (2010) Prioritizing Management Tasks, Management and Business.  Retrieved

October 3, 2011 from

http://management-and-business.blogspot.com/2010/04/prioritizing-management-tasks.html

Gomolski, B. (2009) Decision Framework For Prioritizing Cost Optimization.  Retrieved

October 3, 2011 from http://eval.symantec.com/mktginfo/enterprise/other_resources/b-gartner_decision_framework_for_prioritizing_cost_optimization_ideas.en-us.pdf

Huffman, L., (2008) Overworking causes Health Problems, Office Arrow.  Retrieved October 6,

2011 from

http://www.officearrow.com/job-satisfaction/overworking-causes-health-problems-oaiur-152/view.html

Keener, B. (2008). Setting Priorities. Dkeener.  Retrieved October 1, 2011 from

http://www.dkeener.com/keenstuff/priority.html

No Author, (2011) Small Business Finance Facts, Small Business Trends.  Retrieved October 4,

2011 from http://smallbiztrends.com/2011/08/small-business-financial-facts.html

Ruth Mayhew. (2011) Six Steps of the Performance Appraisal Process. Retrieved October  9, 2011 from

http://smallbusiness.chron.com/six-steps-performance-appraisal-process-1912.html

Suttle, R. (2011). The Steps in a Business Research Process, Small Business Retrieved October            9, 2011, from

http://smallbusiness.chron.com/steps-business-research-process-3294.html

Tanck, R., (2008) Decision Making Process. Peyton Designs Retrieved October 9, 2011, from

http://decision-quality.com/intro.php

Wang Center, (2011) Benefits of Hiring Interns, Academic Internship Office.  Retrieved October

7, 2011 from

http://www.plu.edu/intern/employers/hidden/Benefits-of-Hiring-Interns.php

Wiegers, K. (1999) First Things First:  Prioritizing Requirements.  Processimpact.  Retrieved

October 3, 2011 from http://www.processimpact.com/articles/prioritizing.html

 

 

 

0

Recession Effect

Recession Effect on Travel Agency

Introduction

The global financial crisis which starts at the end of 2007 has been a great event in the history of world economy. Rare is a crisis of such scale. It’s easily the worst financial crisis the world has ever seen since the Great Depression in 1930’s.

Under the pressure of the current global financial crisis, the worldwide tourism industry keeps a downward trend and the tourism economy makes a sharp decline. Tourism is one the industries that’s a fundamental component of the global economy and there is no doubt that it has been enormously affected by the outbreak of global economic crisis. In addition, tourism is vital for all countries, due to the income generated by the consumption of goods and services of tourists as well as for social and cultural benefits.

In this paper, we analyze the impact on the tourism industry caused by the current global financial crisis which has greatly affected several important industries including travel agencies, airline companies, cruise lines, hotels and the souvenir businesses. Even though, the global economic crisis has affected the tourism industry; it’s understood that tourism will not stop but will flow in a different way. Most of the travel and tourism involves unrestricted expenses so during economic breakdown people would want to secure themselves thus covering essentials for living. Even then, tourism will not die out, there will be change in the traveling behavior of the people, and therefore the tourism and hospitality businesses have to adopt a different strategy to survive in this situation.

 

 

 

 

 

Travel Agencies

The Great depression Vs Global Financial Crisis

During the Great Depression from 1929-1935 most democratic governments moved slowly to correct the problem. In the United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt overcame intense opposition to implement his plan for massive government intervention into the damaged US economy, and 1987 the same thing applied. In the Asian Economic Crisis of 1997 Asian governments moved cautiously to head off a regional economic crisis. The up to date global financial crisis, the whole world is enduring, has also caused abundant financial setbacks to countless businesses that were forced to close or to start economizing and cutting back on operating expenses. The current economical crisis has been the worst Financial Crisis since the Great Depression (Pendery, 2009) surely bringing horrific news to thousands of industries and corporations globally. (Articlesbase , 2009)

The tourism is one the industries that’s a fundamental component of the global economy and there is no doubt that tourism has been enormously affected by the outbreak of global economic crisis. In addition, it is vital for many countries, due to the income generated by the consumption of goods and services of tourists, the taxes levied on businesses in the tourism industry, and the opportunity for employment and economic advancement by working in the industry. Tourism has become an extremely popular, global activity. It is the act of traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes not related to the exercise of an activity remunerated from within the place visited. A more comprehensive definition would be that tourism is a service industry comprising a number of tangible and intangible components. The tangible elements include transportation systems that include air, rail, road, water; hospitality accommodation, foods and beverages, tours, souvenirs; and related services such as banking, insurance and safety & security. The intangible elements include: rest and relaxation, culture, escape, adventure, new and different experiences. There are two main types of tourism, domestic and international. Domestic tourism is also called internal tourism this consists of tourist that stay in their own country but visiting a different city in which they do not live in. International tourism is when people travel globally outside of their region and home country.

Tourism is especially vulnerable to the global financial crisis and instability for a simple reason; most travel and tourism involves discretionary expenses. During tough economic times people conserve their money to cover the essentials of life, food, and shelter in addition to family necessities and companies cut travel budgets. As a consequence, the travel industry has suffered from travelers cuts induced by the global financial crisis itself and caused by the decrease in travel demands. The sudden drop in the scale of tourist reception is a severe blow to travel agencies. A travel agency is a retail business that sells travel related products and services to customers on behalf of suppliers such as airlines, car rentals, cruise lines, hotels, railways, sightseeing tours and package holidays that combine several products. In addition to dealing with ordinary tourists most travel agencies have a separate department devoted to making travel arrangements for business travelers and some travel agencies specialize in commercial and business travel only. The smaller and medium travel agencies round the world which are now found lacking in strength and have less in risk-bearing capacity will operate into a low or even close and go bankruptcy; others had to lay-off some of their staff in order to overcome the crisis. Many of the skilled and experienced travel agents have been forced to move to other industries. Causing the tourism industry loss of professionals in the field and services to its passengers, and eventually down the line will be a major disadvantage. One should expect to see more mistakes which can cause delays in our airport, our ports ect, and more unsatisfied tourists. The unfortunate situation, according to travel agencies operators, has affected the cash flow, man power, and other relevant commercial aspects of the business. Even U.S. nationwide known agencies like Liberty Travel, a New Jersey-based travel agency, dropped sales by nearly 20 percent to 25 percent late last year. To cope with a slowdown in business and vacation travel which are the main cash earners, the firm closed offices in downtown Baltimore, Lutherville, Gaithersburg and Laurel and laid-off 18 travel agents in the area. The cuts were part of a companywide layoff of more than 100 travel agents and closure of 31 offices (Schultz, 2009).

As the recession spreads, Spain joins forces with the global financial crisis, slashing tourism figures around the globe; Spain sees its number of travel agencies minimizing in the hundreds. Over the past months/year, 980 travel agencies have closed around Spain, leaving the total number of travel agencies at 8,174, according to a report by Amadeus (a technology partner for providers, sellers and buyers of travel) which also calculated an accumulated drop in revenues of between 25-30% in the first quarter of 2009. In Catalonia a similar amount of travel agents shut down, 148 closed down, representing a 12.2 per cent reduction in this region (Schellhammer, 2009).Generally, Europe has seen its tourism industry affected more than others, with a ten percent decline, while Asia declined six percent and Africa and South America actually grew, by three and 0.3 per cent, respectively. According to the World Tourism Organization, UNWTO, the number of travel movements fell by a further eight percent between January and April of 2009 alone compared to the same period in the previous year (Buck, 2010). Tourist numbers are continuing to drop almost everywhere in the world.

Below find Table 1 which shows the partly actual, partly forecasted total of domestic and international USA travel in millions of domestic trips or international arrivals. It shows among others that the international arrivals in 2006 only made up for only 2.5 % (51 million / 2,052 million) of total US travel. The report further shows that the combination of rising inflation, increasing unemployment, tightening credit conditions, high levels of consumer debt, declining housing wealth, and stagnant wages are finally taking a toll on domestic USA travel since the 3rd quarter of 2008. Around 25 % of the domestic trips are for business and75 % for leisure purposes (Associates, 2008).

Table 1: Total US Travel 2006-2012 in millions of domestic trips and international arrivals.

 

(Associates, 2008)

Table 2:

The U.S. Department of Commerce recently announced that international visitors spent an estimated $10.3 billion on travel to, and tourism-related activities within, the United States during the month of January—nearly $310 million less (3 percent) than was spent in January 2009. Meanwhile, January 2010 marks the fifteenth consecutive month in which U.S. travel and tourism-related exports were lower when compared to the same period of the previous year. Indeed, this downturn in U.S. travel and tourism exports, beginning in the closing months of 2008, interrupted more than sixty consecutive months of positive growth.

(Office of Travel & Tourism Industries , 2010)

Recommendations for Travel Agency

The tourism industry is still facing a lot of uncertainties for relative far-reaching impacts of the

international financial crisis, which raises new challenges for the sustainable growth of the tourism economy. But there is always sunshine after the storm and the optimistic growth forecasts of tourism associations such as the WTTC, UNWTO and PASTA will almost certainly require some revision but tourism will survive this challenge as it has overcome a wide range of challenges since this extreme 21st century began (Beirman, 2008). The tourism industry will have a rough ride over the months ahead but those who think and act strategically and have to ability to adapt their business model quickly to the new realities will overcome this challenge. Despite the loss of 1,400 agency locations and real challenges to be faced in 2010, travel agents who provide value to suppliers by creating demand for travel and provide valued services to consumers, the future looks good. If I had to guess, it’s likely that 2010 will be identified as the year of recovery. The industry will likely be focused on ways to improve their businesses as consumer confidence returns.

 

0

Lack of alternative to

Lack of alternative to the new inventory technology

In the meeting, Debbie and Warren discussed with Jack the idea of purchasing a new system that would assist in there inventory handling and long term cost. He put forward the idea to purchase an AS/RS which he states will help to simplify, eliminate, automate, and integrate. . Automated Retrieval/Storage System (AS/RS) provides for the automatic placement and withdrawal of parts and products into and from designated places in a warehouse. Because of the tremendous labor involved in error-prone warehousing, computer-controlled warehouses have been developed. Jack also explains how beneficial one AS/RS would be, but elaborates that if there was two AS/RS’s they would be operating at a high capacity. Having two separate AS/RS would help increase the volume shipped at the same cost. However Liz is skeptical about the cost but Jack stresses that they need to consider the net present value and the return that they would gain from this new technology.

Recommendation – Only Purchase (1) AS/RS Unit while using a Layout Strategy

Jack is a representative from the company that sells the AS/RS and is pushing for them to purchase two AS/RS’s to make money the supplier. JSHLD suggestion is to only purchase one AS/RS which will allow then to improve shipping times and also have more efficient labor on hand.  Each shift will have no more than two full-time supervisors and will rely on part-time employees working rotating schedules. Instituting the storage and retrieval system and increasing the number of bodies in distribution should minimize customer service gaps.

Reasons for any purchasing one system:

  • Costly – It would be cheaper to buy one system and rearrange the warehouse more efficiently.
  • Would pull personnel from other projects to work on integration.
  • Moving parts makes it dangerous around the warehouse.

Warehouse layout Strategy

Warehouse layout is a design that attempts to minimize total cost by addressing trade-offs between space and material handling (Heizer, 2009). CanGo can use this management minimizes the sum of the resources spent on finding and moving material plus the deterioration and damage to the material itself. An important component of warehouse layout is the relationship between the receiving/ unloading area and the shipping/loading area.

In ware house layouts, random stocking can be used in warehousing to locate stock wherever there is an open location. Automatic identification systems (AIS) such as the AS/RS that Jack recommended can be used in the form of bar codes, to allow accurate and rapid item identification.

When automatic identification systems are combined with effective management information systems, Warren would know the quantity and location of every unit.

Example:

 

Issue: Lack of understanding of customer complaint procedure

“As the old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” implies, often a “picture” of the process can quickly reveal inefficiencies and unnecessary steps in the way things are done” (Prentice-Hall, 2002). CanGo needs to develop a flow chart to better understand how customer complaints are handled. A flow chart is a schematic or drawing of the movement of material, product, or people.

Having a proper procedure of how complaints are handled will help to fix CanGo’s problem of customer complaint in their daily operation. The positive customer experience is essential for repeat business in any industry.   “Customers of all types are emotional and tend to rate experiences based upon the expectations set” (Lieberman, 2011). Well designed complaint management enables the firms to know how they should behave when they are faced with customer complaints.

Benefits of proper customer complaint management include:

  • Customer retention
  • Brand reputation
  • Operational efficiencies
  • Improved communication
  • Easy to implement
  • Continual improvement

 

Below is a standard complaint flow chart which we recommend CanGo use to handle customer complaints. This flow chart is effective in not only understanding the proper procedure but completing the process in a timely manner.

Image: Frontier UK. (Producer). (n.d.). Customer complaints procedure. [Print Graphic]. Retrieved from frontersupport.com/index.php?option=com

 

 

Work Cited

Heizer, J. (2009). Operations management. (10 ed.). Prentice Hall.

Lieberman, M. (2011). Importance of positive customer experiences. Retrieved from http://mjayliebs.wordpress.com/2011/05/18/the-importance-of-positive-customer-service-connections/

Murray, M. (2010). Planning your warehouse layout. Retrieved from http://logistics.about.com/od/forsmallbusinesses/a/warehouse_plan.htm

0

Introduction

 

Introduction

The Automotive industry today faces a decline in profits due to the global economic crisis. Not only has this affected profits but also a lack of vehicular sales, loss of jobs and closure of various dealerships nationwide. Manufactures all are thinking of new techniques to deal with this crisis; General Motors (GM) and Daimler Chrysler have received large sums of bailout money. Toyota has been changed, promoting hybrids and more fuel efficient vehicles in efforts to revive the now declining Industry. The questions that we are now faced with what are:

What is the crisis and what caused it?

What options do manufactures have?

What will make the crisis ok?

What will the future look like?

Overview

General Motors GM

General Motors has announced that they will be selling their well known “Saturn” brand to Penske (owned by former race car driver Roger Penske), but because Penske withdrew their bid, the brand will be phased out by October 2010. Along with this, GM is planning to discontinue two of its other top brands (Hummer and Pontiac).

Being the top U.S automobile manufacturer up until 2008, one would ask why this big force is getting rid of three of its main brands. Hummer will meet its demise because of the fact that demand for large SUV’s are greatly decreasing. With a poor nine (9) miles per gallon for majority of its vehicles, this brand can hardly compete with the more fuel efficient vehicles on the market.

On the other hand, Saturn and Pontiac are both being phased out because of financial reasons. A chapter 11 bankruptcy was filed for GM, but on July 10, 2009, they reorganized the company. It is said that GM is 75% owned by the United States Treasury and Canadian governments.

 

TOYOTA

Toyota has made a press release informing stakeholders of the first-ever annual operating loss it has had in a century. This loss was caused by the harsh decrease in sales along with the rise in the Japanese currency.

In January of 2009, Toyota was forced to close (11) eleven of its production plants in Japan. This decision was in effect up until the month of March because of the lack of demand for vehicles which left dealers with unsold vehicles and a high overhead cost. The president of Toyota, Katsuaki Watanabe complained about the unpredictable 2009 market in press releases stating, “I never expected the crisis to spread this fast and leave this deep a scar” (qtd in Toyota Stop Production ¶ 4). Toyota did not make a press release stating they will be filing for bankruptcy or doing mass layoffs like US companies such as General Motors but it is definitely their end fiscal years.

 

 

 

How is Toyota dealing with this crisis?

Toyota has pledged not to lay off workers and has found ways to implement pay cuts without violating this pledge; they are also offering a voluntary buyout program to various dealerships nationwide. The management of the company also took at hit with the crisis; they will not be pulling in the large bonuses the end of this year as some has been cut by 50%.

Toyota has no solution for getting consumers to buy more cars, as the richest customers have zipped their wallet due to worries of losing their jobs.

On the bright site Toyota is now aware of the current situations and is on the way to put the company in a better situation.

What is the Crisis and what caused it?

Many Automotive dealerships have not only closed down but filed for bankruptcy. It’s the belief that this action is not because of the lack of internal control or marketing but because of the economical recession[1]. The Automotive industry has taken a big hit causing Manufacturers to close factories worldwide.

This all started when the automotive industry was weakened by the rise in oil prices in 2008 which carried the prices of vehicles sky high. With this substantial increase in prices the main US manufacturers such as Ford, GM and even Chrysler started to lose sales to their Japanese competition; Toyota Motor Company, Honda and Mitsubishi which were offering greater discounts and deals and also produced cheaper more fuel efficient cars.

Manufactures have openly admitted that they have made many mistakes over the years. They have emphasized too much on making trucks and SUVs and the failure make a proper reaction to the new demand for fuel efficient vehicles.

In addition to the increase in production, the percentage of imported parts went up as well. Because the U.S. no longer builds their cars locally, they have to pay for the cost of the part itself and then transportation of the said parts to their locations. This also is a major problem for the industry.

 

 

(PSDS) Heuristic

 

 

 

What options do manufactures have?

Solution #1

“The Committee”

One solution to solve the automotive crisis is creating “The Committee of Automotive Control”. This committee will be created by Congress, and consist of nine members. This will be an administrative team to control policies and prices of automotive manufactures. Each member will go through a rigorous selection process that to ensure there is no conflict of interest, they are qualified for the job and to make sure they are knowledgeable about the industry. This committee should include economist, qualified bankers and persons with extensive automotive history. The committee must first analyze the industry using a structured decision making process.

This committee will have the duties of:

  1. Analyzing, appraising and evaluating of the automotive industries.
  2. Examining the conditions and circumstances that may indicate that policies need to be added or changed.
  3. Price control of Vehicles.
    1. Setting a ceiling to prevent greedy car dealers from raising prices to a unreasonable unaffordable price.
    2. Setting an average price for the different categories e.g. Sedans, coupes, SUV, trucks.

 

 

Solution #2

“Going Green”

Green is not only the color of money but it a thought in consumers mind when buying a car. Manufactures are starting to show off a new generation of vehicles that are fueled by electricity or hybrid power. Fuel efficiency is still the priority of drivers on the road today.

While manufacturers are racing to perfect and develop green cars all are being sold for over $100,000.00. Developing green cars is quite time consuming and costly as the technology used to build them continues to progress.

On the other hand this idea is in good standing with the government as it reduces the dependency on oil. Experts predict that as technology advances and the demand for these cars grow the price to manufacture them will drop to a more affordable price.

 

Solution #3

“Less Import”

Let us face it, without the proper components a safe car cannot be produced successfully. The only problem with this is when the majority of your components are manufactured and shipped from other countries. With the current system set up, the American industry does not only need to purchase the part, but they have to pay shipping and freight costs as well.

There was once a time when American vehicles and parts were manufactured mainly in the United States. The proposal is to build more plants and factories in the U.S so that the country can go back to that era. Saving money spent on importing parts will not be the only up side, but this will create more job opportunities within the nation and more job opportunities give the economy a chance to build up (more funds circulating within the country).   

 

 

Wants and Needs Analysis

Needs Solution no. 1 Solution no. 2 Solution no. 3
Jobs Yes No Yes
Decrease Production Cost No No Yes
Increase sales Yes Yes Yes
General Price control of Vehicles Yes No No
Wants (I) (S) I*S   S I*S
Opening New Dealerships 6 6 36   6 36
More fuel efficient cars 7 8 56   8 56
All Parts Manufactured in the US 9 8 72   8 72
Joint Dealership Ventures 4 5 20   5 20
More exports 5 5 25   5 25

 

Priority Analysis

Urgency: 6

The crisis is in immediate need of fixing; it has indirectly affected revenue in the US and directly affects jobs in each state. If the industry does not pick up from the current slump that it is in the US economy will be in a downward spiral.

Deterioration: 6

In today’s world, persons are still purchasing expensive gas guzzling vehicles that even for the simplest engine problem a specialist needs to be called in. Most persons always prefer luxury over fuel efficiency for their first, second, or even third vehicle. Unfortunately, there are a lot of persons who cannot even afford a used car at the back of the lot, much less the high-priced sports car on the front line.

Importance: 8

It is a unanimous decision between the members of our group that if the automotive industry continues on the way that it is going then three things will happen. First, the automotive companies win incur a lot more expenses in terms of the rising cost for materials. As a result they will need to lay off workers to keep a proper profit/loss balance. Finally, because of the minimized working force the product quality will decrease and as such dealerships will have to close because of a lack of sales (buyers do not want a defective product).

Implementation

As a group we decided that no one solution would solve the problem. We have combined Solution #1 with Solution #3 as they fit the criteria of our wants and needs analysis. This new solution has been called the “Hybrid”.

Our solution has been put to congress and they have agreed to run with this idea. They are now in the progress of finding individuals to control and fit the positions on the committee. Offices has been open nationwide to house the new employees working for the committee; the head office is based in the home of the “big three” Detroit. This office will be the headquarters where the 9-10 officials are located and all decisions and bills regarding the automotive industry are passed. Congress will be bi-annually receiving progress reports from the headquarters to ensure that they are making a brighter future for manufactures and consumers alike.

Combined with this, we shall create a fund to build more manufacturing plants. With new plants in place, more persons can be employed, thus creating more opportunities for persons to increase their income. With this part of the solution, companies will be drastically reducing their total expenditures because no longer will they have to foot the bill for importing parts or even cars to complete their production lot.

 

 

 

 

Contingency Plan

Possible problem Possible Cause Possible Effect Plan A(Preventive action) Plan B(contingent plan)
Low Quality Parts The lack of available funds can cause the company to resort to cheap materials 1. Poor Quality cars.

2. Decreased safety standards

1. Produce parts in the US.

2. Set a standard for part Quality.

1. Make use of partnerships.                              2. Have a joint deal with suppliers.
Lack of sales 1. Customers have no money.

2. Cars may be too expensive.            3. Cars are not tailored to customer needs.

1. Closing of dealerships.                       2. Loss of profit 1. Lower the price of cars by producing parts in the US.                                                 2. Make fuel efficient cars.

3. Create jobs by opening production plants.

1. Sell cars at discounted price

 

 

 

 

Evaluation

After reviewing the problems at hand and the solutions implemented, it is agreed that the problem was not totally solved. The committee with their price controlling and unification rules will enable the average person to be able to purchase a car, thus increasing sales, there will still be the problem of assuring that banks will give certain individuals loans to purchase cars.

The other half of the solution will do a lot for the different U.S based manufacturers. As stated previously, if implemented, this solution could bring more profit to the table of the dealers. This would be so if the economy strengthened and persons could be able to purchase cars more frequently. Unfortunately, this solution has no control over sales but it does allow for more persons to be employed and for the manufacturers to save money on the various parts needed to build each vehicle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Work Cited

Billitteri, Thomas J. “Auto Industry’s Future.” CQ Researcher 19.5 (2009): 105-128. CQ Researcher. Web. 18 Oct. 2009. <http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/cqresrre2009020600>.

Warbuck, Rich. “.Halloween Treat: Toyota Motors.” (2005): n. pag. Web. 18 Oct 2009. <http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2005/10/27/halloween-treat-toyota-motors.aspx>.

McIntyre, Douglas. “As Auto Recession Deepens, Toyota (TM) Cries “Uncle.” 2009. Web. <http://247wallst.com/2009/02/12/as-auto-recession-deepens-toyota-tm-cries-uncle/>.

“General Motors.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 18 Oct 2009, 00:38 UTC. 19 Oct 2009 <http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=General_Motors&oldid=320507872>.

 

 



[1] A recession is a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in real GDP, real income, employment, industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales.

0

CanGo started

CanGo started their business in 2006 consisting of two divisions CD, DVD and MP3.  In 2009 the company purchased their third division, online gaming company which cost 30,000,000.  As in December 2008, CanGo reported net sales revenue of 10,000,000 and by December 2009 had a spike in sales by reporting Net sales revenue of 50,000,000.  This huge spike in sales say CanGo has made its mark in the gaming industry.  To ensure the organization remains a top competitor in the market CanGo must conduct analysis to determine its financial status.

Organizational Success is contingent upon several important factors one of which includes the financial planning.  Financial planning provides a guide for the overall operation of the business and provides structure towards the ways finances are handled within the company (E-how contributor, 2011).   Decisions made by the organization affect the financial standing of the company, so careful financial planning is necessary to ensure the success of the organization.  It is impossible for an organization to remain stable without financial planning.  With that said, CanGo must conduct a financial analysis of the company, as it will show them the current financial status of the business.  They can compare numbers which will give them direction on where they need to improve financially.

 

To conduct the financial analysis CanGo must pull all of the company’s financial statements from a minimum of the last 3-5 years.  This should include the balance sheets, Income statements, shareholders equity statements and cash flow statements.  CanGo should then scan the documents for noticeable changes in specific areas for a specific year.  After scanning the documents the CanGo should review notes that are attached that might be pertinent to the analysis.  Once all of the financial statements are reviewed CanGo should conduct the following ratios (Harvey 2003):

  • Liquidity Ratio
  • Leverage (or debt) ratios
  • Profitability Ratios
  • Efficiency Ratio
  • Value Ratios

Once the analysis of the company is complete CanGo should do an analysis of their competitor to compare the data.

As CanGo prepares for new business ventures the staff must consider the financial impact of making changes.  The company should make certain they have the resources in place to take on new business ventures.  In order assure they have the necessary resources they must have a clear understanding of their financial status.  New business might mean expansion which will incur additional costs for the company.

 

 

 

Havery, L., (2003). Steps to a basic Company Financial Analysis.  Retrieved October 1, 2011 from

http://faculty.philau.edu/lermackh/financial_analysis.htm#Steps%20to%20a%20Basic%20Company%20Financial%20Analysis

 

 

E-how Contributor, (2011) The Importance of financial planning for business.   Retrieved          October 1, 2011 from

http://www.ehow.com/about_6811455_importance-financial-planning-business.html

 

 

0

Employment Law

Employment Law

Midterm

 

1. DePeters, Co. is sued for sex discrimination on the grounds that too few women are hired because fewer women than men achieve passing scores on a required manual dexterity and physical strength test. DePeters, Co. offers in its defense that even though fewer women score high enough on the test, a greater percentage of the passing women are hired. The company maintains that, as a result, the percentage of women in the workforce mirrors the percentage of available women in the labor pool. A group of women who took the test and failed file suit. Explain the basis for the cause of action, and analyze the merits of the cause of action, employer defenses, and likely outcome. Support your response with applicable law.

 

(Chapter 6) The women would file suit, alleging a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, alleging that the test has a disparate impact upon women. Even though a greater percentage of the passing women are hired, the employer’s process of arriving at the bottom-line figures should be scrutinized for disparate impact. This situation is similar to the case of Connecticut v. Teal, 457 U.S. 440 (1982), in which the Supreme Court held that the “bottom-line” result does not preclude employees from establishing a prima facie case, nor does it provide the employer with a defense. Although the percentage of the women in the workforce mirrors the percentage of available women in the labor pool, the test still results in fewer women passing it than men. Therefore, the test has a disparate impact upon women.

The employer’s defense to this suit would be that passing the test is a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ). DePeters would argue that the job required manual dexterity and physical strength similar to that which is tested. If they were able to show that passing the test was reasonably necessary to their particular business, they may have a valid defense against the claim. The burden of proof would be on DePeters to show the similarity between the positions and the test, and that the dexterity and strength were bona fide occupational qualifications. If they were unable to meet that burden, the women would likely be successful in their claim.

 

2. Shaun, a woman of Hispanic origin, waits tables at Mongomey’s Restaurant. Phil, an African-American local businessman who frequently brings clients to Mongomey’s for lunch, dislikes Hispanics. As a result, he lies to the owner of the restaurant and tells the owner that Shaun referred to him by an ugly racial epithet. Once this complaint is brought to Shaun’s attention, she is demoted from waitress to dishwasher. Shaun filed a Title VII claim against Phil, even though Shaun works for Mongomey’s, not for Phil. Analyze the basis for the cause of action, the company exposure, steps that could have been taken by the company to reduce exposure, the outcome, and support for the outcome. Utilize applicable law in your analysis.

 

Title VII is applied to employer-employee relationships. If a customer made it a hostile environment, then the employer would be liable towards the employee, but in this instance, the employee has sued the customer. Phil is a customer, not an owner or operator of Shaun’s establishment. Title VII states that “(a) It shall be unlawful employment practice for an employer…” Here, we have to stop. Phil is not an employer of Shaun and cannot be held accountable under Title VII since this encompasses employment, not general discrimination. Shaun would need to investigate local state laws and ordinances to see what action she could take against Phil. Most likely, she has a slander charge against Phil rather than any kind of Title VII ruling. 

Though Phil brings clients to this restaurant frequently, this by no means makes him an employer of Shaun. That would make an unreasonable burden on everyone who encounters a waiter or waitress since the customers could now be considered that person’s employer. Phil does not pay employment taxes for Shaun nor places her on his payroll, and any tips he has left have been for her services and do not constitute any kind of salary. Also, Phil’s office may contain less than 15 employees and not even under the realm of Title VII. No, Shaun needs to chase her employer, not Phil, the customer. Again, Shaun should investigate local ordinances and state laws to see what is out there to use against Phil.

 

 

3. Pugh worked for See’s Candies, Inc. for 32 years. He had started out as a dishwasher, worked his way up to vice president of production, and was also on the Board of Directors. When he was hired, he was told by the president and general manager, “If you are loyal and do a good job, your future is secure.” The president had a policy of only terminating employees for good cause, and that policy was continued by his successor. During the entire period of Pugh’s employment, his performance had never been formally evaluated or criticized, and he was never denied a raise or bonus. After the company had set sales records for the Christmas and Valentine’s Day seasons, Pugh was called into the president’s office and told that he was fired. He was not given a reason for his discharge, but he suspects that he was fired because he objected to the sweetheart relationship that the company had with the union representing its workers. Does Pugh have a cause of action for wrongful discharge? If so, what could the company have done to minimize exposure?

 

The court held that Pugh had stated a cause of action for wrongful discharge under an implied contract. The president’s statement and the policy of discharging only for good cause created a contract offer that he accepted by continuing his employment with See’s. One of the exceptions to at-will-employment is an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. This covenant is an implied contractual obligation to act in good faith in the fulfillment of each party’s contractual duties. Under this exception, both employer and employee enter into a contractual relationship in which the particulars of why and when an employee can be terminated are not specifically addressed in the agreement.

When Pugh was hired, he was told that if he does a good job, his future is secure. Pugh could argue that he understood this statement as a promise by the company to continue employing him as long as he remained a good performer.

The next factor to consider is the company’s policy for termination. The company appears to have a very specific and well understood policy that states that it will only terminate employees for good cause. Although this policy may not be in writing in an employee handbook, Pugh could argue that this policy is implied and relates to all employment relationships, including his own.

Given these facts, it appears that Pugh could prove that his termination was not in compliance with the company’s policy for terminations. Since the company would not give him a reason for his discharge, this further proves that he most likely was not terminated for good cause. Also, since Pugh’s performance had never been evaluated or criticized in 32 years, it does not appear that the company could prove that he was terminated due to poor performance. 

 

0

EMPLOYMENT AT WILL

EMPLOYMENT AT WILL

 

Introduction

 

This week, we will kick off our study of employment law by exploring the employment-at-will doctrine, common law impact on employment law, determination of employee versus independent contractor, and the implications of that determination.

 

Employment at Will

 

Employment-at-will focuses on the right of the employee or the employer to terminate the employment relationship at any time for any reason. Most employers follow the employment-at-will doctrine. When an employee is employed through a union or an individual contract, employment-at-will is rarely applied. These employees are referred to as just cause employees. The main difference between these two options revolves around how the employment relationship ends. Contrary to employment-at-will, just cause employment means that the employee and employer can only terminate the relationship with reason. This usually results in a formal discipline process to document and give the employee the option to improve performance. The employee may also be held to terms before he or she can easily resign employment.

With employment-at-will, employers are not 100% free to do whatever they want to do. Employers must still follow the laws and regulations. This means that they cannot terminate someone for an illegal reason (for example, their ethnic heritage); however, other times, reasons for termination are not required to be provided.

 

As we look at other areas of employment law, the next area of focus that ties to the employment relationship is the determination of what makes an employee an employee. Companies utilize a variety of workers to help get their work done. However, not all of these workers are employees. Workers can be employees in any situation. However, an individual working for the employer may not be classified as an independent contractor unless he or she meets certain requirements. These requirements are determined by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Department of Labor (DOL). The IRS utilizes a 20-factor test to determine if an individual is working as an employee or a contractor. Although the factors can be placed into a short list, they are not as simple as they sound.

To be considered an independent contractor, the position must pass the contractor test. The test put together by the IRS focuses on the control that the employer exercises over the worker, financial gain, and the length of the relationship. Employers need to be diligent in making this determination in order to avoid situations in which they misclassify employees.

Although these different factors may seem simple or complex depending upon the situation, it is important to appropriately classify workers as employees or independent contractors. Employees are entitled to have deductions withheld from their paychecks for taxes and employee benefits. Over the years, employees have been misclassified as independent contractors. This is a concern because the payment of taxes is different between independent contractors and employees. Also, individuals misclassified as independent contractors may have been excluded from benefits offered to employees. Sometimes, companies misclassify individuals as independent contractors as a way of reducing expenses rather than for the right reasons. Others make honest errors in the misclassification. In the end, if an error is found, an employer can be liable for back taxes and back benefits.

The issue with the back payment of benefits came to light with Microsoft’s use of independent contractors. Microsoft was challenged on its use of contractors. In this case, the individuals were determined to be employees. As a result, Microsoft owed back taxes and back benefits. As you can imagine, back benefits are difficult to administer. To help minimize this impact, most benefit plans adopted a Microsoft Inoculation Provision into their benefit plans. It prohibits back benefits for individuals who have been misclassified.

In recent years, the IRS and several state governments have given additional focus to the issue, and some task forces have been set up in order to review the employer’s classification of workers.

Conclusion

 

Now that you’ve learned a little about employment-at-will and independent contractors, we will move towards the discussion and explore these topics further. As you look at these different areas, you realize that they are very important for employers to consider as they make their employment decisions.

 

 

 

0

ASSIGNMENT WEEK

ASSIGNMENT WEEK 3

 

1. Based upon the scenario, does the employee have a legally viable claim for quid pro quo sexual harassment and/or hostile environment sexual harassment? What is the likely outcome?

 

Based upon the scenario the employee has a legally viable claim for both quid pro quo sexual harassment and hostile environment sexual harassment.  Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when a workplace benefit is promised, given to, or withheld from the harassee by the harasser in exchange for sexual activity by the harassee.  In this scenario, quid pro quo sexual harassment could be brought against her boss for demanding the employee travel and stay in the same hotel room as himself or else face consequences which resulted in her being demoted to the mailroom and receiving a pay cut.  This was exacerbated by his comment concerning seeing her “amazing breasts” that a previous employee had commented about thus creating a hostile sexual environment between the two of them.  The employee also has a viable claim for hostile environment sexual harassment in regards to her co-worker who has made numerous sexual comments concerning her breasts.  Hostile environment sexual harassment occurs when the activity by the harasser towards the harassee is unwanted, is based on the harassee’s gender, creates a hostile or abusive work environment, and unreasonably interferes with harassee’s ability to do his or her job.  She advised the co-worker that the comments made her uncomfortable and to stop but the comments continued.   The co-worker took it a step further by stealing and downloading and altering a photo of her on his computer.  The likely outcome is that the employer will be held responsible and will have to pay punitive damages.

 

2. Analyze the legal factors for the potential claim(s) in the context of the employee pursuing legal action against the employer.

 

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defines sexual harassment as follows: “Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical contact of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when:

  • Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment.
  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individuals.
  • Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.

” Brittany was subjected to explicit comments that were very inappropriate and this behavior was carried on for a sustained period of time, in spite of the complaint to her supervisor.  Brittany probably followed the right process by informing to her supervisor, but there was nothing done to rectify the situation. It only got worse with the supervisor also indulging in sexual harassment with Brittany not having a defined organizational process as a solution for the situation that he was in. The discriminatory conduct in this case was carried out for a sustained period of time, and it was done at multiple intervals that show that the discriminatory conduct was not a one off thing but has been going over sustained period of time. The actions of the perpetrators of the discriminatory conduct included speaking lewd and abusive language, sexually explicit comments about a person, morphing Brittany’s picture into a lewd screensaver.  All of these instances directly violate Brittany’s sexual harassment rights as defined by the EEOC.

 

3. Let’s shift gears. Using the same scenario, assume you are in the HR department of your organization and you were just presented with the scenario as an example used to explore policies and procedures that will avoid sexual harassment liability. Your boss has asked you to make preliminary suggestions (which will be presented to the legal counsel) regarding sexual harassment protocol that will avoid potential liability. What would your top five suggestions be and why?

 

My first suggestion would be to implement a defined zero tolerance sexual harassment policy for the company.  It did not seem that Brittany’s company had policy to enforce, and if so, it was not taken seriously.  My second suggestion would be to implement a defined sexual harassment claim procedure so that if an employee experiences sexual harassment they know exactly how to handle the situation.  My third suggestion would be to begin sexual harassment training so that everyone is knowledgeable about what sexual harassment is, how to identify it and how to go about reporting it.  Fourth I would ensure that the company monitors the workplace to ensure the efficiency of the sexual harassment policy.  Monitoring can be accomplished by walking the facility and ensuring no offensive material is visible, talking to managers and supervisors, or ask employees for their input such as having an open door policy or hot line for sexual harassment. Final suggestion would be to take all complaints seriously.   If someone complains about sexual harassment, act immediately to investigate the complaint.  If the complaint turns out to be valid, the response should be swift and effective.