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As an outcome of an investigation regarding allegations that Fred Staid and a couple other men in the delivery section had been harassing a coworker, Tamiko Timid, Joe instituted corrective action and counseled the men regarding appropriate behaviors. As an outcome of his investigation, however, he learned that Anton Knox was unquestionably an opportunistic employee. Joe learned that of all the men who had engaged in off-color humor, Anton was the worst. In fact, some of the men said Anton constantly swore and made derogatory remarks about women. Fred Staid also said that Anton was often late to work or called in sick. Sometimes, when he came to work, Fred thought he could smell alcohol on his breath but was reluctant to say anything to Anton. Instead, Fred counseled Anton on his tardi- ness and other behaviors that were affecting his performance without mentioning his suspicions that Anton was an alcoholic. In the course of his investigation, Joe learned that Anton was indeed an unstable and volatile employee. When Joe initially questioned Anton concerning Tamiko’s concerns, Anton became defensive, saying that Tamiko was out to get him fired. When Joe asked about Anton’s use of foul and demeaning language, Anton proved the case by swearing at Joe. Further, after Joe concluded his investigation and met privately with Anton to counsel him, Anton stood up at one point, pointed his finger in Joe’s face, and yelled at Joe. Joe immediately told Anton to leave for the day. The next day, Anton approached Joe and said he was sorry for his outburst. Unfortunately, prior to Joe’s investigation, Fred had not informed Joe about Anton’s behaviors. Further, Fred had not instituted any formal discipline. Fred confided in Joe that formal discipline was tricky because Anton seemed to know just when he was about to cross the line. As soon as Fred considered formal discipline, Anton would return to an acceptable level of performance and be a “sweetheart” for a few weeks until the pres- sure was off. Then, as soon as Fred let his guard down, another incident would occur requiring Fred to counsel Anton again. Joe realized that he had not been as attentive to Anton’s behaviors or to Fred’s supervision as he should have been. He also realized that it was time to insist that Anton either change his behavior and improve his performance or face termination. Therefore, Joe met with Jim Talent and asked what he should do.
case Questions In class, discuss the following:
1. Based on what you have learned in this chapter, what advice would you give Joe regarding how to respond? Specifically, what steps would you take to a. b. c. d. arrange a meeting with Anton? counsel Anton and address inappropriate behaviors? implement discipline, including termination if warranted? prepare for potentially aggressive or violent behavior?
2. When you confront Anton regarding his behavior, what specific behaviors, comments, and arguments might you anticipate from him as an opportunistic employee? Discuss these specific situations. How would you respond to these behaviors, comments, and arguments?
3. Would you say that Anton has been a bully to Tamiko? Why or why not? Assume for the sake of discus- sion that Joe and Fred had not been responsive to Tamiko’s concerns and Anton’s behavior toward her continued, unabated. How would you advise Tamiko to handle the situation? As an alternative to class discussion, have students pair up and practice a role-play in which one student plays Joe and the other plays Anton. In the role-play, Joe counsels Anton. Each responds as he or she believes the characters would based on an understanding of the scenario and the role profiles. Following the role-play, the class reconvenes to discuss specific challenges Joe faced and how to overcome them.