Case #2

Case Abstract

Truss Right is a fictional company that has recently hired a new employee (the student) as Plant Coordinator. The seasonal nature of construction trades means Truss Right lays off employees annually. Students working through this case are asked to write a bad news letter to an employee informing him that his overtime hours are going to be cut back.

Keywords: Bad News, Letter, Empathy, Ethics, and Professionalism.

Teaching Goals

The goal of this case is to teach students how to write a bad news letter for a specific audience within a specific context that will show students how to maintain professionalism while showing empathy.

Learning Objective

Students will learn to:

  • Write a bad news letter
  • Make ethical writing decisions
  • Show empathy to audience
  • Maintain professionalism

Possible Deliverables

  • Bad news letter
  • Bad news email
  • Audio recording
  • Video recording


This case places students in a situation that will help them understand how ethics and empathy can play an important role in professional communication. They should be able to write an effective letter to a specific individual in a specific context that maintains a professional tone while considering the impact the bad news letter will have on the reader.