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CASE 23-1: Did Charles Have a Chance? Charles Morgan was hired five weeks ago to work in the mailroom of the Teletron Trading Corporation. His job was to collect mail twice daily from each office in the building, sort and process outgoing mail, deliver outgoing mail to the post office, and pick up incoming mail from the post office. He learned the job in one day by working with the outgoing employee, Tomika Williams. Tomika had been hired by another company and had only one day left with the company by the time Charles was hired. After one month, Charles thought that he was doing well. Some of the first few days had been rather rough, but things seemed to be going more smoothly now. He rarely saw his supervisor, but when he did the supervisor always greeted him pleasantly. A week later he received notice that he was being discharged at the end of his six-week probationary period. There was no explanation for the discharge, and Charles was not aware of the probationary period. He went to the human resources office immediately. The employment manager pulled a folder from the file and began reading notes that had been placed there during the past month. Charles responded truthfully to each item. a. An hour late to work on May 15: “My car wouldn’t start, but I called to say that I would be in as soon as possible. I worked an extra hour at the end of the day to finish my duties.” b. Two offices complained that the mail had not been picked up on the second of the month: “It was my second day on the job, and I couldn’t remember all of the stops. After the second day, I made a schedule and I haven’t missed an office since.” c. The Research Department complained that an important document was sent by regular mail when it should have been sent by express mail: “I didn’t know the policy for deciding when and how to send items until I was told I had done it wrong. I asked the supervisor, who gave me a procedures manual to study. Tomika Williams had not told me about the manual.” Several other similar complaints were included in the file. Charles readily admitted to but explained each one. According to the employment manager, Charles was being discharged in keeping with company policy. The policy stated that any employee who received five or more complaints about work procedures during the probationary period was automatically discharged.

THINK CRITICALLY 1. What is your opinion of what happened to Charles? What responsibility should he take for what happened? Justify your opinion. 2. Develop several reasons to justify the probationary and discharge policy of the company. Describe what you believe the company should do to improve the policy. 3. Why do you believe Charles was prepared for his job in the way he was? What role should the human resources department play when employees receive that type of training? What recommendations can you make to improve the company’s training procedures?


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