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CASE DESCRIPTION: This short case focuses on harassment and intimidation problems faced by a manager and his family shortly after an employee has been terminated. Whether the departed employee is the intimidator, whether the employer is obligated to investigate and get involved in the matter, and which options or possible actions the manager and his family can take are the key issues in the case. The case has a difficulty level of four, and is best-suited for use in junior or senior undergraduate-level courses in human resource management or employment law. This case can be presented and discussed in about one and a half hours, and is expected to require about two hours of outside preparation by each student. CASE SYNOPSIS: This is a case about a disgruntled employee at a software development company that was being downsized. The employee became upset when he was terminated, claimed he was fired because of his Iranian background, and had to be escorted from the premises by a security guard. A few weeks later, his former manager started receiving bills for hundreds of dollars of purchases that neither he nor his wife had ordered, such as magazine subscriptions, life insurance policies, and gifts. The manager thought the terminated employee was probably doing this, but he only had a few forged signatures on some order cards as evidence. The company HR Director was informed about these harassment incidents and shown the signature cards, but didn't offer to get involved to resolve the situation. As more magazines, pornographic pictures, suggestive notes, and even a note with a veiled threat to the wife and baby arrived in the daily mail, the manager realized that his family was being intimidated and threatened in a criminal way. This was no longer just a prank. The police were called and an investigation was begun, but there still seemed to be little support from the company and the HR Director. Does the employer have a responsibility to protect its managers and their families from work-related harassment? What should the manager do now? Should the family move to a safer place? Should they wait for the police to do something? Should the manager leave his job at the company? Should they retain a lawyer and sue the company?.

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Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies





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School of Business Administration


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