Society for Case Research / Global Jesuit Case Series Summer Workshop

Experience level: 
Benjamin Anderson, Caroline Chen, Meghna Virick, George Whaley

Not Keeping Things “Zipped Up”: A Study of Fairness Regarding Employee Policies in Zip Tech Corporation

A routine review of expense reports by the internal Audit Department at Zip Tech Corporation inadvertently uncovered a workplace romance between a high-level executive and a lower-level employee. Zip Tech had a non-fraternization policy and the two employees admitted that they had violated the policy. The Internal Audit Department, Legal Department and the Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO) were involved in the investigation but ultimately the decision fell to the CHRO to make. While it appeared to be a straightforward violation of the company’s non-fraternization policy, the CHRO fired the high-level executive but reprimanded the lower-level employee. The case ends with the CHRO for her monthly report to the CEO in which she will need to justify these decisions. Readers are asked to assess the actions of Zip Tech decision-makers and the legal and ethical issues involved with the decision and how decisions might have been better made.