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When SafeAuto opened its Woodsfield call center in rural southeastern Ohio, it was a boon and a position working for the company was the envy of Monroe County. While the company is still seen a positive force, many that work(ed) there are disillusioned because of changes in compensation that cut some employees’ checks in half and left them unable to maintain the lifestyle to which they had been accustomed. Employees claim those expectations were based on promises – some of them contractual – that the company and its managers made. A local judge recently ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit against SafeAuto. The company will appeal.

QUESTIONS:

  1. Discuss the decision to locate a call center in Woodsfield. Was this a good strategic move for SafeAuto (discounting the current lawsuit)? Why or why not?
  2. Evaluate SafeAuto’s change in compensation. Is it legally defensible (i.e., have they violated any laws)? Is it consistent with good human resource management practices? Is it okay for the company to have different compensation systems in Woodsfield and Columbus?
  3. Develop a realistic job preview for a SafeAuto call center position. Keep in mind the company’s implied goal to be a quality employer in Monroe County, but its need to adjust compensation based on the economy and competition. How would you present the position accurately to avoid unrealistic employee expectations?

SOURCE: M. Williams, “SafeAuto No Safe Haven,” Columbus Dispatch (Retrievable online at http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/business/stories/2011/02/13/safeauto-no-safe-haven.html?sid=101)

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