Copyright (c) 2006 The University of Pittsburgh Law Review
University of Pittsburgh Law Review
NOTE: WORD-OF-MOUTH RECRUITING: WHY SMALL BUSINESSES USING THIS EFFICIENT PRACTICE SHOULD SURVIVE DISPARATE IMPACT CHALLENGES UNDER TITLE VII
68 U. Pitt. L. Rev. 449
Tobin M. Nelson*
Joe's Widget Company, a sole proprietorship specializing in manufacturing and selling widgets to businesses and consumers, operates in a small community in the Midwest. Joe started the company eighteen years ago out of his own garage with a five thousand dollar loan from his father and a single employee in his brother. Within two decades, Joe's had sales exceeding four million dollars annually and sold its widgets to customers in three different countries and twelve states. With twenty-one employees, Joe's had become one of the community's fifteen largest employers. 1
However, the historical success of this small business is being threatened by its present economic environment. Over the last few years, competition in the widget industry has become fierce. Several foreign widget manufacturers have used e- commerce to successfully penetrate the American widget market. Due to significantly cheaper labor overseas, these foreign manufacturers have a strong competitive advantage over domestic widget manufacturers. In response, many domestic manufacturers have moved their manufacturing operations overseas to take advantage of the lower wage rates, a capability Joe feels he does not possess as a small manufacturer. Furthermore, WidgMart, a discount widget producer known internationally for "choking" its suppliers for the lowest possible price in order to offer retail customers the absolute lowest price, recently opened a store near Joe's community. By offering these low prices, WidgMart is notorious for quickly putting small local competitors out of business. Moreover, due to skyrocketing healthcare costs, Joe is not sure if he can continue ...
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