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Sample Case Analysis on Law, Ethics, and Corporate Governance
Writing a case study or a case analysis requires a student or a writer to analyze a problem and present an acceptable solution. It can be about a business, a project, or a person. Most of the time, a case study involves only a singular problem. However, there may be cases where multiple related problems are present and will require the writer to compare them. Providing background information and alternative recommendations to the problem or problems is also part of a case analysis.
Employees are the lifeblood of every company. Operations will stop and a business will begin to lose money if employees fail to complete their responsibilities. As employees have a responsibility toward the well-being of the company, the company also has a responsibility toward the health and welfare of its employees. Indeed, any sound business model or business plan would integrate provisions designed to promote the well-being of employees. This is why companies are legally obligated to give their employees vacation leaves, sick leaves, emergency leaves, and other types of leaves. Employers also have the ability to refuse a request for bereavement leave provided that they have a reasonable explanation. The protection of the interests of both parties is the reason for the legislation of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. This case study presents a scenario wherein an employee’s leave request was denied and discusses whether the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 applies to his case.
The Facts On The Case of Tony Sulka
Tony Sulka is a successful 38-year-old salesperson in a car dealing company with more than 50 regular and part-time employees. He has been working for the company for two years. Tony’s father is currently living in a nursing home and is up for surgery. Tony is thinking about letting his father live with him after surgery. The manager of his branch, Herman, is happy about Tony’s ability to sell more cars beyond the expected number. But when Tony asked for a 12-workweek leave to take care of his father, Herman became furious and threatened Tony to fire Tony if he insisted on taking the leave.
Question Presented and Conclusion
The main question presented in this case is this: Does Tony have a right to file for a 12-workweek leave? Based on the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, the conclusion reached is that Tony does have a right to this leave, which in turn means that Herman is wrong for threatening him with the termination of employment.
Rule: The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993
The provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, otherwise known as FMLA, are clear and straightforward. The FMLA holds that an eligible employee can take a leave up to 12 workweeks during any 12-month period to take care of their spouse, child, or parent if such spouse, child, or parent has a serious health condition (Halbert and Ingulli, 2008, p.137). This provision applies to an employee who has been working for the company for at least 12 months. The FMLA applies to medium and large companies in which more than 50 employees are working: “[The Act] applies to all public agencies, all public and private elementary and secondary schools, and companies with 50 or more employees” (United States Department of Labor, n.d.). Furthermore, the FMLA requires the employee to give a 30-day notice to the employer for a foreseeable reason. If he is unable to do so, he should provide written notice as soon as he can. The employer has no right to deny the leave under FMLA if the employee provides 30-day advance notice for foreseeable events (Guerin & England, 2018).
There are three conditions that allow an employee to take family and medical leave: for placement with the employee of a son or daughter for adoption or foster care; “to care for an immediate family member (spouse, child, or parent) with a serious health condition; to take medical leave when the employee is unable to work because of a serious health condition”. Family medical leave act allows employees to take leave in order to take care of newborns or family members with illnesses (Halbert and Ingulli, 2008, p.137). In other words, all first-degree family members are covered under the FMLA of 1993.
However, it is important to note that the FMLA protects the rights of both the employer and the employee. Hence, the employer can ask the employee to obtain a certification from a medical provider testifying to the need for the employee to take the leave for themselves or for the family member under the FMLA (Guerin & England, 2018). Furthermore, an employer can deny the leave if such denial is necessary for substantial and grievous economic loss to the operations of the employer (Halbert and Ingulli, 2008, p.137).
The FMLA is designed to help employees to achieve a balance in people’s lives. A person’s life has at least three dimensions: personal/family, social, and professional. A person’s family and social life contain the people they have a close relationship with while a person’s professional life contains his career and colleagues at work. Oftentimes a person sacrifices part of their family and social life in order to progress in their career path and work responsibilities. This is the balance the FMLA is trying to maintain.
Application of the Rule
The facts of the case show that Tony’s circumstances render him eligible for the 12-workweek leave. Firstly, the fact that it is Tony’s father who will undergo the surgery meets the FMLA requirements. For one, Tony is filing the leave to care for a first-degree family member (his father). For another, the surgery his father is going to have qualifies as a serious health condition. Secondly, Tony has been in the company for two years, which means that he meets the 12-month minimum period set by the FMLA. Third, Herman’s company consists of more than 50 employees including part-time employees. Herman might argue that his company consists of fewer than 50 full-time employees and hence FMLA does not apply to him. However, this argument would be rendered as without merit since the FMLA does not mention anything about part-time employees not counting towards the employee count. Fourth, Tony could provide a 30-day notice before the start date of his leave. Tony should also provide assistance in the training of a new employee that will temporarily replace him.
With regard to Herman’s concern that Tony’s leave would cause economic loss to the company, there is no compelling evidence to suggest that this would be the case. Herman might claim that the company is in the middle of the busy season and that Tony’s decision to take a 12-workweek leave might affect his business. However, Tony has already sold more cars than company expectations, a fact which Herman himself attests to. In other words, Tony already helped Herman acquire more financial gains than the latter’s expectations. This fact can greatly help Tony’s case in the argument.
Based on the application of the rule, it is recommended for Tony communicate with Human Resources and cite the FMLA to substantiate his case. Tony should also provide at least a 30-day notice to ensure that his leave adheres to the provisions of the FMLA. In addition, Tony should also assure his employer that he will assist during the transition period before Tony begins his leave. As stated earlier, Tony should help train the person who would temporarily replace him and also provide other forms of assistance to ensure that no harm is done to the company’s assets.
As for Herman, the management should recognize Tony's outstanding performance. Herman needs to acknowledge that it is ethically and legally wrong to deny leave of absence to outstanding employees when they are in need of it. More importantly, Herman should grant Tony 12 workweek leave without the threat of unemployment. Furthermore, Herman could promote any of the part-time salespersons to full-time work until Tony returns after the break. Tony can definitely win if he files his case to an employment tribunal. In short, Herman has no right to fire Tony if the latter was able to submit all the documents mentioned above.
The employer should consider the needs of the employee sympathetically. He should consider moral and legal aspects before granting or denying leave. Business nowadays builds upon relationships. This is why it is important to have a human resource department in any business. It is difficult for an employer to expect the full productivity of an employee if he uses totalitarian approaches in managing the employee. The employer should provide all the legal rights of the employee and moreover, the employer should consider ethical aspects as well before making any decisions as more sympathy shown towards the employee will build up the relationships between the employer and the employee.
Striking a balance between the interests of employees and employers is one of the most prominent management principles that every company needs to consider. In particular, companies and employers need to be sensitive to the needs of employees. Employers should provide the right amount of leave and never threaten their employees. As the case shows, giving more to employees is among the useful and modern management strategies for improving productivity . At the same time, employees should also understand that the company’s well-being is their responsibility as well. An employee should prioritize filing an advance notice before taking a long leave. This will allow the company to plan in advance how to address the work an employee would leave undone.
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Doyle, A. (2010). Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) guidelines . The Balance. https://www.thebalancemoney.com/family-and-medical-leave-act-fmla-2058514
Guerin, L. & England, D. C. (2018). The essential guide to family & medical leave. NOLO.
Halbert, T. & Ingulli, E. (2008). Law and ethics in the business environment. Cengage Learning. 2008.
United States Department of Labor. (n.d.). Family & Medical Leave (FMLA). http://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/benefits-leave/fmla.htm