Academic journal article Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies

The Big Stink at Darius D'Amore's Fragrances, Inc

Academic journal article Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies

The Big Stink at Darius D'Amore's Fragrances, Inc

Article excerpt

CASE DESCRIPTION

This is a field-based disguised case which describes treatment of employees within Darius D'Amore's Financial Administration Division. The case describes a brief history of several employees who filed a lawsuit against the firm claiming racial, disability and gender discrimination after they were overlooked for promotion, or were poorly treated, and eventually terminated.

The case has a difficulty level appropriate for a junior level course in human resource management, business ethics, or principles of management. The case is designed to be taught in one class periods (may vary from fifty-five minutes to eighty minutes depending upon the course structure and the instructional approach employed) and is expected to require between four to six hours of outside preparation by students.

CASE SYNOPSIS

Derived from observation and field interviews, the case describes the plight of several workers within Darius D'Amore's Financial Administration Division and what incidents lead to their eventually filing a lawsuit against the firm. Rich Rogers, 43, had been with the company as a supervisor in the Corporate Credit Department since 1997. Mr. Rogers, a white male, had his Bachelor's degree in management and was enrolled in an MBA program at a local University. Rogers was fighting stage 4-lung cancer since 1996. His condition was not revealed to the Company or his co-workers until 1998. He made his condition known at that time because he needed to take a two-month leave to have bilateral lung surgery. Mr. Rogers, on several occasions, felt that he was passed over for promotion because of his illness and questioned why he was training his supervisors if he wasn't qualified for the job. When Rogers brought up several racial incidents to the head of the Division, Kevin Simmons, he was told to mind his own business and that no matter how hard you work, you will never be promoted. Several other racial and discriminatory incidents occurred that impacted and/or were observed by Les Ford, a 44 year old African American employee, and Jasmine Young, a 25 year old African American female. Their complaints to both management and human resource management went unheeded and eventually Rogers and Young were fired while Ford quit. The case ends with the three of them bringing a lawsuit against the firm.

INTRODUCTION

"The Job Position Opening Policy is to first post the job internally and if no qualified candidate is found, then the open position will be announced to the general public," stated Jeff Juda, Chief Financial Officer of Darius D'Amore, at a Finance Department meeting. "Likewise," he continued, "we fully abide by and support all laws and rules governing employment, especially those from the EEOC."

"What a load of bull!" whispered Rich Rogers to Les Ford. "Juda probably doesn't know what the hell's been going on in his own Department! But he will soon," responded Les.

BACKGROUND

The Darius D'Amore Company was one of the world's leading manufacturers and marketers of quality skin care, makeup, fragrance and hair care products. Darius and Dante D'Amore founded the Company in New York City in 1945. Its products were sold in over 120 countries and territories under the following brand names: Darius D'Amore, Darius, Dante, Beginnings, Inferno, Heaven, Cleanique, Zodiac, Avalon, Madeline and Seasons. Each division had its own specific and unique image, advertising and merchandising strategy.

The Company was headquartered in New York City, with manufacturing facilities located in the United States, Belgium, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Canada. The Company went international in London in 1960 and established a presence in Hong Kong in 1961. There were approximately 20,000 full-time employees worldwide. The Company was publicly traded since November 1990, with members of the D'Amore family owning a majority of stock.

The Darius D'Amore Company sold its products through limited distribution channels, consisting mainly of upscale department stores (i. …

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