FIU Disciplinary Action Against Someone and HR Case Study

Case Study: With Friends Like This . . .
One morning, well before the start of your department’s normal working hours, you were
enjoying a cup of coffee in the cafeteria, shaping up your calendar of tasks and appointments for
the day, when you were approached by one of your employees. The employee, Millie Norman,
one of your two or three most senior professionals in terms of service, seated herself across from
you and said, “There’s something going on in the department that you need to know about, and
I’ve waited far too long to tell you.” You reacted internally with both impatience and
annoyance—you were not prepared to interrupt what you were doing, and you had not even
invited Millie to join you.
Millie proceeded to tell you (“In strictness confidence, please, I know you’ll understand
why”) that another long-term professional employee, Cathy Johnson, had been making a great
many derogatory comments about you throughout the department and generally questioning your
For 10 minutes Millie showered you with criticism of you, your management style, and
your approach to individual employees, all attributed to Cathy Johnson. On exhausting her litany,
Millie proclaimed that she did not ordinarily “carry tales” but that she felt you “had a right to
know, for the good of the department—but please don’t tell her I said anything.”
Although Millie’s comments were filled with “she saids” and “she dids,” and generally
twice-told tales without connection to specific incidents, something extremely disturbing clicked
in your mind while you were listening. Recently your posted departmental schedule had been
altered, without your knowledge, in a way indicating that someone had tried to copy your
handwriting and forge your initials. Two separate, seemingly unconnected comments by Millie
together revealed that only one of two people could have altered your schedule. Those two 

people were Cathy Johnson and Millie Norman herself.
As Millie finally fell silent you were left with an intense feeling of disappointment. You
wondered if you could ever again fully trust two of your key employees.

Case Study Questions:
Write at least one fully developed paragraph in response to each of the following
1. What should be your immediate response to Millie Norman? Why?
2. Do you believe you have the basis on which to proceed with disciplinary action against
someone? Why or why not?
3. How can the human resource department help you in your present concern?

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