LEG500 Employment-at-will doctrine
LEG500 Employment-at-will doctrine
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Date Created: 11/06/15
Running head: EMPLOYMENTATWILL 1 EmploymentAtWill Doctrine Max Meckley Law, Ethics, and Corporate Governance; LEG500 Professor Christina Williams Strayer University May 08, 2015 EmploymentAtWill Doctrine 2 EmploymentAtWill Doctrine Summary of Doctrine Employmentatwill is a legal rule that developed in the nineteenth century allowing employers to dismiss employees for any cause without being held legally accountable (Halbert, Ingulli, & Frey, 2015). Employees are free to dispose of their labor in any manner consistent with the purpose of making money to support their needs. The employer provides demand for pay and benefits that meets the employee’s skill and compensation demand. The employee must provide the tools necessary. They are able to disclose certain rules and obligations to the employee that the employee should not take for granted. Unions have been formed to protect workers from being fired, except for good cause. Good cause is difficult to justify as different circumstances are not clear or precise. John’s Facebook Rant John may have felt persuaded to justify his feelings on Facebook by ranting about the actions that the customer took. There are many times that individuals feel they must express themselves. It is not proper to do so publicly. However, the court would weigh the interests of John as an individual and state that the interests of the community outweighs the interests of the company. The most that the company could do is to apologize to the customer and request that the rant be removed from Facebook. There are many companies that make a high percentage of their capital from a single customer. Actions have consequences. Should the actions portrayed by John cost the company a EmploymentAtWill Doctrine 3 significant amount of their annual income, John should be allowed to have his position terminated unless he can turn the incident into something more valuable to the company. Freedom of speech cannot be denied. John could have just stated how difficult it has been to work with the customer and may have been venting. It is important that John knows how quickly information travels on social media. Any misinterpretation could enable the customer to purchase their goods somewhere else and cause John’s company out of business. The Strategic Lawsuit against Public Participation (SLAPP) has caused many individuals to pay hefty fines for speaking out against corporations (WrightPegs, 2009). Virginia has no antiSLAPP law and John could be sued for his actions. It is not in the company’s best interest to file charges as freedom of speech and other exceptions to employee rights are prevalent. The company will ask John to edit or remove his post the company will apologize to the customer in hopes of no hard feelings. John acted on his own behalf and the company understands his viewpoint as well as that of the customer. John could be demoted or fired, however, the company shows value to his honesty and will require him to bring any further complaints to the board to be dealt with at the lowest possible level. Bill’s company Blackberry and Side Business Bill has been using his company issued Blackberry phone to run a business on the side. This denotes personal use and gain from a company tool. Double penalty could come from this action and lie in grounds for termination considering the possibility that the side business is receiving attention during working hours at the job. Unlawful gain by fraudulent means could EmploymentAtWill Doctrine 4 cost Bill his primary employment. Bill should buy a cell phone for the side business and ensure that it is the only thing that the cell phone is limited to that primary use. Bill needs to be terminated. There are many assets that are prone to abuse within a company. Overage fees and excessive data usage could cost the company a lot. Cellular fraud is costing service providers as well. Subscriber fraud is also a concern as the company pays for the phone in their name. Bill is using it for two other potential subscriptions without paying for the service. There are other issues such as liability concerning the legality of Bill’s side business. The company cannot accept such liability and Bill should be terminated. The employmentat will doctrine suggests suitable cause. Abuse and fraud are cause enough. A device designated for company use needs to be monitored. Devices are prone to viruses and need maintenance and protection. Bill’s side business could be harming the device and diminishing its useful life span. The Stored Communications Act (SCA) extends only to service providers. Liability with the national do not call registry also implies improper use. Any number that Bill calls could hold the company liable for damages caused in connection with numbers that are registered. The federal Communications Commission (FCC) would undoubtedly fine the company that holds the contract for the device. Liability for fines and fees could be charged to Bill. The company would have to eventually stop paying fines, and in its best defense, terminate his position with the company. Anna’s Jury Duty and Career EmploymentAtWill Doctrine 5 Anna has a lawful duty to attend jury duty as per the government’s request. Anna must notify her employer of the jury duty and request leave or vacation. The boss cannot simply fire Anna as long as everything is disclosed and her supervisor and upper echelons are notified. In one case, a woman was arrested from her position after a two day trial in Florida. She was fired and had to go to court for the verdict (International Business, T., 2012). She was later given back her position and due compensation for her time off. The boss was later relieved of her duties. Jury duty pertains to all citizens when they are so called forth. The only exception would lie in that Anna failed to disclose her conditions and simply left without notifying the company. The company owes their loyalty and cooperation to the government as well as Anna. They must be willing to grant Anna the time and compensation needed for the gain of the government as well. Jury duty is a tax of time that the company must grant to the government. The company owes more than wages and benefits to employees. They have a duty to the community and the overall wellbeing of the people through actions and government regulation. Annual documents are kept to ensure that workers are able to be granted due compensation for jury duty, should the opportunity arise. Virginia’s EmploymentAtWill Policy Virginia is an employmentatwill state. It has laws that enable limited protections for employers. There are also torts and exceptions that protect employees. Such laws are enforceable, however, some protections have not been recognized. These protections are realized on a case by case basis as they are approached from similar protections enforced by other employmentatwill states. EmploymentAtWill Doctrine 6 In VanBuren vs. Grubb from 2012, Dr. Grubb had been making sexual advances toward Miss VanBuren for several years before he fired her (Chessin, 2013). VanBuren was a nurse employed at Virginia Highlands Orthopedic Spine Center from 2003 to 2008. She filed for wrongful discharge in violation of public policy after Dr. Grubb fired her for not accepting his advances and asked her to keep quiet offering a severance package for her cooperation. The courts found that the employee could file charges on the individual as well as the manager or supervisor for violation of public policy. Virginia Highlands Orthopedic Spine Center was a limited liability company so the initial claim was overruled. However, further evidence provided that the tort law was applicable to supervisors and managers, as well as individuals in Virginia. This ruling could spark future cases in wrongful discharge, but the court deemed this ruling in favor of Miss VanBuren in that advances in the workplace and lewd conduct are unacceptable. EmploymentAtWill Doctrine 7 References Chessin, B. J. (2013). INDIVIDUAL LIABILITY FOR WRONGFUL DISCHARGE IN VIOLATION OF PUBLIC POLICY: AN EMERGING TREND. Wake Forest Law Review, 481345. Halbert, T., Ingulli, E., & Frey, M.A. (2015). Law and ethics in the business environment with readings from essentials of contract law. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning. International Business, T. (2012). Woman Fired for Jury Duty to Sue Former Employer. International Business Times. WrightPegs, L. (2009). The Media SLAPP Back: An Analysis of California's AntiSLAPP Statute and the Media Defendant. UCLA Entertainment Law Review, 16323.
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