Sample Case Analysis on Law, Ethics, and Corporate Governance

Research Paper Law
Oct 25, 2007

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.

The Case of Tony Sulka

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 towards the well-being of the company, the company also has a responsibility towards the health and overall life of their employees. This is why companies are legally obligated to give their employees vacation leaves, sick leaves, emergency leave, and other types of leaves. Employers also have the ability to refuse a request for a bereavement leave provided that they have a reasonable explanation. Protecting both of these interests is the reason for the legislation of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993.

This essay presents a business case in which a hardworking employee was denied his rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. Tony Sulka is a successful 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 was 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, the manager became furious and threatened Tony that he will lose his job if he takes the leave. This essay briefly analyses the said case with respect to employment law, ethics, and corporate governance.

According to the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), an eligible employee can take a leave up to 12 workweeks during any 12-month periototo take care of the spouse, or a son, daughter, parent of the employee if such spouse, son, daughter or parent has a serious health condition (Halbert and Ingulli, 2008, p.137). The FMLA is designed to help employees to achieve a balance between personal and professional life. A person has at least three kinds of life; 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. Often times 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.

In the case stated above, as long as Tony has worked for 12 months for the company, he is eligible to request for an unpaid 12 workweeks leave. He should, however, given at least a 30-day notice before the start date of his leave. Since 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 a written notice as soon as he can. Tony should also provide assistance in the training of a new employee that will temporarily replace him.

“FMLA 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). FMLA is applicable to medium and large companies in which more than 50 employees are working.  Herman’s company consists of more than 50 employees including part-time employees. Herman argued that his company is consisting less than 50 full-time employees and hence FMLA is not applicable to him. Herman's argument seems to be trivial as the FMLA does not mention anything about part-time employees not counting towards the employee count. Moreover, the management should recognize the outstanding performances of Tony and it is ethically and legally wrong to deny leave of absence to outstanding employees when they are in need of it. Tony's request is a first-degree family matter and due to the surgery his father is going to have, it is also a serious health condition.

FMLA protects the right of both the employer and the employee. According to FMLA, Herman can deny the job to Tony if such denial is necessary to substantial and grievous economic loss to the operations of the employer (Halbert and Ingulli, 2008, p.137). Herman claimed that the busy season was going on and Tony's decision to take a 12 workweek leave might affect his business. Tony has already sold more cars than the expectations of Herman which is evident from his words. In other words, Tony already helped Herman to achieve more financial gains than his expectations. This fact can greatly help Tony's case in the argument. In addition to the exceeded expectations, Tony should also assure his employer that he will assist during the transition period before Tony begins his 12 workweek 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.

Herman can promote any of the part-time salespersons to full-time work until Tony returns after the break. Moreover, the FMLA clearly enables Tony to take leave up to 12 workweeks since he has worked for the company for two years. Under these circumstances, Herman should allow Tony to take the 12 workweek leave without the threat of unemployment. Tony can definitely win if he files his case to an employment tribunal. According to Gary Vikesland (2006), the employer has no right to deny the leave under FMLA if the employee provides 30-day advance notice for foreseeable events. Moreover, 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 (Vikesland 2006). In short, Herman has no right to fire Tony if the latter was able to submit all the documents mentioned above.

Doyle (2010) has mentioned 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 their newly born babies, diseased son, daughter, spouse, parents (Halbert and Ingulli, 2008, p.137). In other words, all first-degree family members are covered under the FMLA of 1993. The employer should consider the needs of the employee sympathetically. He should consider moral and legal aspects before granting or denying the 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. 


Companies and employers should be sensitive to the needs of their employees. A person's professional life shall never take precedence over his personal matters. Employers should provide the right amount of leave and never threaten their employees. At the same time, employees should also understand that the company's wellbeing 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) FMLA Eligibility and Benefits. Retrieved 22, July 2010, from

Halbert T and Ingulli E. (2008). Law and Ethics in the Business Environment. Cengage Learning. 2008.

United States Department of Labor. (n. d). Family & Medical Leave. Retrieved 22, July 2010, from

Vikesland G. (2006).The Family & Medical Leave Act. Retrieved 22, July 2010, from

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