FAU Jim Beam Fighting Citation for Bathroom Break Policy Case Study

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Business Finance

Florida Atlantic University


Case Study Review 1

Respond to the following case scenario by applying topics and theories learned from the current module week:

Scenario-A Closed System, Rational Model:

Jim Beam fighting citation for bathroom-break policy

The Jim Beam bourbon-making plant in Bullitt County is fighting a state citation criticizing its policy on bathroom breaks for employees. Since October, line workers at the plant have been permitted to use the restroom only during lunch and two other times during the day - one before lunch and one after. They also are allowed one unscheduled toilet break per day, and can be disciplined for taking more, starting with a warning and escalating to dismissal after six incidents.

The old policy allowed workers to rotate off the line for short, unscheduled breaks

throughout the day, with no set number. The company changed the policy after it concluded that workers were taking advantage of the liberal break policy. The Labor Cabinet, in a citation issued in November, said Jim Beam is violating a federal labor law requiring employers to provide restroom facilities to employees. Jim Beam is appealing the citation. The cabinet did not propose a fine.

A hearing on the citation is scheduled next week in Bardstown. The distiller has filed a

memo with the Labor Cabinet, saying it "observed, documented and analyzed break habits of the employees" and consulted with a urologist to make sure that the new policy would be reasonable." The company said people with medical conditions get more leeway. But the United Food and Commercial Workers union that represents the approximately 100 production-line

workers said the urologist determined the breaks were not motivated by need, but most

likely by "smoking habits."

The union said 45 workers have been disciplined, some workers have begun wearing

protective undergarments and others have urinated on themselves because they were afraid to leave the line. "It's embarrassing to be a 36-year-old woman and have to justify your need to go to the bathroom," said Krystal Ditto, who said she has been disciplined five times and is one unscheduled bathroom visit away from losing her job. "Once you get the feeling you have to go, you sit there looking at the clock and see you have an hour to go, and it intensifies. I'm not going to sit there and be miserable." The company is holding its ground. "We feel our system provides reasonable breaks for all employees, and we're looking forward to explaining our position in detail next week at the hearing," said Stephanie Moritz, director of publications for Jim Beam, based in Deerfield, Ill.

Jo Anne Kelley, the union local's president, has worked at the Jim Beam plant for 34

years. She said the policy is degrading and that company officials have told some workers that they should "practice" going to the bathroom every two hours at home on the weekends to put themselves on a schedule. "Basically, we're being asked to train our bladders and other organs to meet their needs, not ours," Kelley said. "Your bodily functions don't have a time clock." In its appeal, Jim Beam said its break policy "effectively balances the medical needs of

employees with the company's need to maintain a productive workforce." (Adopted from Harvard Business Review, 2019).

Items to Address:

The following items should be evident in your case paper:

  • Identify the key roles and organizational issues through a brief summary or introductory paragraph (this is not the abstract page).
  • Integrate specific theories from the readings for the type of organization. You may use previous module readings when applying a specific structure/system.
  • Provide your personal perspective on the case, applying theories, perspectives, and structures you along with alternatives that could be best integrated to address the participant’s concerns.

Paper Requirements:

  • The paper must be written using current APA format and must include a title page, an abstract, and a references list. These are not included in the word count.
  • The paper must have a minimum of 1000 words and a maximum of 1,200 words. The case paper is short as you will apply your scenario in the following Discussion Board Forum assignment.
  • The paper must be submitted as a Word document (.doc) it will be checked in SafeAssign upon submission.
  • Do not use bullets or listing anywhere in the paper.
  • References must be as follows:

    Merida, T. (2015). Christ-centered exposition: Exalting Jesus in 1 & 2 Kings. Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group. ISBN: 9780805496703.

    Scott, W. R. (2015). Organizations and Organizing: Rational, Natural, and Open Systems Perspectives. London, England: Routledge. ISBN: 9780131958937

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    Running Head: CASE STUDY REVIEW


    Case Study Review


    Case Study Review

    Jim Beam bourbon has a case to answer concerning its policy for employees to attend
    restrooms. The workers are limited to three breaks in the entire duration of their shifts. The ones
    that violate this policy are reprimanded, and if the incidents occur for the sixth time, they are
    dismissed. The company adopted this framework defensively for the employees that were taking
    advantage of the previous unscheduled breaks. The hearing of this case is scheduled in a week
    with the Labor Cabinet. The following discussion is a theoretical analysis of the case.
    Integration of Theories
    Jim Beam's case citation case can be analyzed from the realm of closed system theory. This
    is a setting that has little or no interactions with other systems or the outside environment. A system
    in this framework is considered a group of units linked together and has shared goals (Holland,
    2016). In this theory, an organization is perceived as a system of management, equipment,
    personnel, technology, and material. All interact to achieve a common purpose, which is the
    production of goods and services. In this context, the external environment of an organization is
    not included. It implies that competitors, suppliers, and government regulations, among others, are
    not integrated into the production process.
    The closed system theory is critical for managers to analyze challenges inheren...

    Very useful material for studying!


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