BA 314 Case 4: The Sky is Falling JackHammer Construction Company is a mediu

BA 314 Case 4:
The Sky is Falling JackHammer Construction Company is a medium size firm that specializes in the building of offices and commercial establishments. Around 430 people work here, about half being construction workers, and the rest working in office type jobs. Business has been slowing down this past year and company management has been looking for various ways to control and/or reduce costs. Josh Smith is a construction worker who works as part of a crew of 30. His job is primarily to weld steel and insert hot rivets into beams and girders. Many times the building under construction is more than 10 stories high. So Smith and others are expected to do their jobs under conditions that most would consider hazardous and risky. A typical day for most construction workers here at JackHammer begins early in the morning, around 7 a.m. This first half hour is used to sort out the jobs for that given day, select the tools and equipment that will be needed to perform the work, and assign work teams to given projects. The crew foreman, Foster Mayhem, is the local boss for all construction workers and day laborers. It is his responsibility to see that the work gets done. Foster has been with the company for nearly 9 years now. Foster Mayhem was called up on his cell phone last week by Curtis Bigfoot, the managing director for the company. Foster was told in no uncertain terms that he must find ways to cut out some of the construction expenses. Each construction project is awarded by contract, and in this contract is a provision that if the overall building can be completed before the deadline and/or come in under the contract costs, then JackHammer gets a 10% of contract performance bonus. That translates to over $2,000,000 for this current construction project!! In fact, Mr. Bigfoot reminds Foster that, as the on site supervisor, Foster stands to rake in around $30,000 in a performance bonus if he can get this done……….. So Foster Mayhem has decided on a few ways maybe he can cut some costs of the project. He elected to suspend any safety meetings since they always cut out an hour of work time for his crews. These safety meetings don’t ever amount to much anyway! Additionally, Foster decides to defer any replacement of tools and equipment since the guys always want the newest stuff, when in reality, the old materials can get the job done. So what if a few of the tools are wearing out. 4 days ago, Josh Smith showed up for work and was assigned to a work crew. He was at the 14
th floor of the building when a co-worker, Milton Bark, yelled that his safety belt was coming loose!! Josh jumped from girder to girder trying to get to Milton, but before he could grab him, Milton slipped out of his harness and fell two stories to a lower floor, fortunately landing on a scaffold instead of falling all the way to the ground. Milton broke his right arm and sprained his left ankle in the fall. Foster Mayhem held a crew meeting that night at the end of work and told everyone that Milton had failed to wear his safety harness correctly and that it was his mistake that caused the accident. Josh accepted this at face value, since he did not know Milton that well. Yesterday, Josh was working up on the 11
th floor welding metal plates to the elevator shaft. Halfway through a weld, Josh noticed he was not getting an even flow of gas from the acetylene tank. When he turned to check the tank, the upper fitting blew off the tank causing it to explode only a few feet from Josh. Josh was burned on his face and hands to the point that he had to be taken to the emergency room suffering from 3
rddegree burns. Today, family members of Josh Smith are calling the main office of JackHammer, wanting to speak with someone in charge. The receptionist answering the call said that the family is very upset about Josh and claims that they know that this accident could have been avoided. Josh’s wife told the receptionist that if JackHammer did not cover all of Josh’s medical bills and pay him his check while out of work, then she might contact an attorney.   When Curtis Bigfoot learns of this incident, he talks a bit with Foster Mayhem, and then calls your department. You listen to Mr. Bigfoot as he explains how he wants your team to make this problem go away. He expects your group to find a way to appease the family of Josh Smith with very little cost to the company and to make sure no lawsuit is forthcoming. When you question Bigfoot about this, he tells you that you are authorized to do whatever is necessary but he wants your report on his desk by the end of the week. You are expected to produce your report using a powerpoint slide presentation. Be sure to address all of the key issues here, cite all appropriate legal concerns, if any, and lay out just how you will go about solving this problem. presentation that includes the following: a.     a general overview of the case [explain what’s going on here] –       what happened –       who is involved –       what are the key issues –       what are the constraints, if any –       were any laws violated, company policies, etc. b.     your analysis of the case –       what are the main considerations from an HR perspective –       what does/do the employees want to happen –       what would management like to happen –       are there any legal ramifications –       are there any ethical considerations c.     your conclusions and recommendations –       what do you believe is the proper way to handle this situation –       what report can you offer in this situation –       what are your recommendations based upon –       who should be involved, who should make the decision –       what is the final decision of the group  

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