EMPLOYMENT LAW 7
Employmentat will Doctrine
Employmentat will Doctrine
The doctrine of employment at willdeclares that in a case when an employee does not have a writtenemployment contract, the term of employment is regarded to be of anindefinite duration. Consequently, the employer has the right toterminate the employee for good cause, bad cause or no cause at all.The doctrine has been existent in the United States since the lasthalf of the 19th century. The employment arrangements in each of thestates have been at will or terminable by either party- for anyreason whatsoever. The doctrine is against the belief in a majorityof workers in the United States that satisfactory job performanceshould obtain a reward of benefits such as job security (Alibekova, &Campbell, 2007).There are exceptions to thedoctrine of employment at will. The exceptions address terminationsthat seem to comply with the principle but are perceived to beunjust. First is the public-policy exception. The exception providesthat it is wrong to terminate an employee when the discharge isagainst an explicit and well-established public policy of the state.For example, an employer cannot discharge an employee after theemployee files for their workers compensations claim after theyobtain injuries at the workplace. Besides, an employer cannot fire anemployee due to their refusal to break the law at the request of theemployer. The public exception is the most accepted in 43 of the 50States of America (Holland, & Burnett, 2007). Second is the implied contractexception. The exception occurs when an implied contract is createdbetween the employer and an employee even with the absence of anexpress written instrument regarding the existence of an employmentrelationship. The exception provides that although an employee maynot have a written contract, it is unlawful to discharge the employeewhen the employer has made oral or written representations to theemployee regarding the employee`s job security or the procedures tobe followed upon the adoption of adverse employment actions. Theprovisions serve as enough evidence that there is a contract ofemployment. Besides, the contents and representations made by theemployer in employee handbooks are sufficient evidence to indicatethe existence of an implied contract. The provisions in the manualprovide the dictation that the employer will follow specificprocedures before administering the disciplinary action to theemployee. Besides, where an employer has made oral presentations tothe employee indicating that employment shall continue as long as theemployee’s performance is satisfactory, such presentations serve asevidence for an implied contract. The implied contract creates anexception that would prevent the employee’s termination except forthe particular cause. The exception is the second most recognized. Itis applied in 38 of the 50 states in the United States of America(Lockton, 2006).Third is the covenant of good faithexception. The exception provides that there exists good faith inevery employment relationship. Consequently, it prohibitsterminations based on bad faith, or that prove to be motivated bymalice. It is the least famous exception that has acceptance in only11 states (Holland, & Burnett, 2007). In the case of the departmentsupervisor requiring my approval to fire an employee, it is wrong toprovide the approval. I would not grant the approval since theemployee is against the violation of public policy- provision offalse expense reports for her boss. The provision of approval to firethe employee has the potential to create litigation against thecompany. The case is subject to the public policy exception ofemployment at will doctrine (Holland, & Burnett, 2007).The second case entails John, whohas posted a rant on his Facebook page criticizing the company’smost important customer. The employee is subject to disciplinaryaction since his actions depict a negative image of the company. Thelegal situation in the case will be determined after establishing theexistent of an actual or implied contract between the company andJohn. In the existence of a contract, John is subject to disciplinaryactions as stipulated in the contract or the employee handbook. Thesecond situation is the existence of an implied contract created bythe existence of employee handbooks or any oral conversations betweenthe hiring personnel and John. The provisions provided for John shallbe applicable in determining the most appropriate punishment actionfor John (Alibekova, & Campbell, 2007). The third situation is the casewhere there is no actual as well as an implied contract between theemployee and the company. In such a situation, as the Chief OperatingOfficer, I am free to offer any disciplinary action that I feel issatisfactory. The disciplinary actions are based on the damagecreated by the actions of the employee. I have the authority todischarge John from working for the company as provided by theemployment at will doctrine (Holland, & Burnett, 2007).The third case entails Ellen, whohas provided the company’s sensitive information to the public.Since the enterprise does not have a whistle-blower policy, the caseis similar to that of John. The rightful action will be determinedafter establishing the existence of any actual or implied contract.The contracts shall outline the appropriate disciplinary action. Incase there is no contract with the employee, I am authorized todischarge the services of Ellen according to the doctrine ofemployment at will (Alibekova, & Campbell, 2007).I live in Idaho the state`s policyof employment at will provides for all the exceptions against unfairjob termination. The state recognizes the existence of the impliedcontract, the public policy and good faith exceptions to theemployment-at-will doctrine. Consequently, the state calls foremployers to provide written contracts for their employees (Holland,& Burnett, 2007). One key employer based in Idaho isColdwater Creek. The company deals in women apparel accessories andhome décor. In the previous half decade, the company has a historyof availing written contracts to their employees. Besides, theyprovide employee handbooks to ensure that the employee fullyunderstands the conditions of employment at the company. Also, thecontract stipulates the procedure for hiring as well as firing theemployees (Lockton, 2006).References
Alibekova,A., & Campbell, D. (2007). Employmentlaw.Alphen aan den Rijn, The Netherlands: Kluwer Law International.
Holland,J. A., & Burnett, S. (2007). Employmentlaw.Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Lockton,D. (2006). Employmentlaw.Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.