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THE DONNA DRIVER CASE SCENARIO Donna Driver has always been viewed as a high-flyer.


Donna Driver has always been viewed as a high-flyer. She has been with Wilson Bros for over twenty years and worked her way up the ranks from a sales assistant role to her current role as Retail Sales Manager-Food Services Ontario. She has held this position for the last 7 years and is now responsible for all Food Service Sales of Wilson Bros. products to Wilson Bros. customers, including McDonald's, at a salary of $100,000 per year.

Donna is an old-fashioned salesman in the true sense. She considers her job to be dealing directly with the senior buyers of the various customers, wining and dining them, and achieving increased sales through her personal contacts and charisma. She sees little value in mentoring her staff, because giving them too much knowledge or exposure might in the long term be a threat to her. As a matter of fact, her staff rarely see her.

Donna is not good with paperwork either: her sales reports are often late and incomplete, and any documents dealing with personnel issues are usually not done at all.

This way of operating seemed to work for Donna and the company during a period of several years when sales and margins were constantly increasing. She has been used to receiving better-than-average salary increases and a pat on the back by the owners.

But now, in Ontario in particular, the food service business is cutthroat, and new strategies need to be developed to deal with it. The owners of Wilson Bros. have determined that Donna is not the person to turn Ontario around, but they don't want to fire her necessarily. They have heard that wrongful dismissal suits can be expensive and damaging to the company image; and after all Donna is basically a good person. A retail sales manager position has come open in the Fredericton office, a place where the volume of business is smaller and personal networking is more central to business. Upper management would like to move Donna to the Fredericton office.

As Director of Human Resources, you have the job of telling Donna that she is being transferred to Fredericton, effective immediately, and that she should be prepared to start work there next week.

1. How would you handle the meeting with Donna? What kind of preparations would you make? What precautions would you take, if any?

2. Is this change a transfer? Explain.

3. What are Donna's options? Explain the legal issues behind these options.

4. What are your/the company's options? Explain the legal issues behind these options.

5. Describe how Wilson Bros. allowed Donna's situation to progress to the point that they have to transfer her out of the division. What mistakes or omissions did they make in the past? How would you ensure that you avoid a situation like this in future?

Top Answer

Preparations. Prepare to consider the emotional impact of the transfer while telling Donna about it. Prepare to tell Donna... View the full answer

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