• The employee seems to be unable to learn the computer applications that are basic to her job responsibilities, but, consistently: "tells” her boss that she is a “a good worker and a genius” and that he does not “appreciate her: Even after a few months of training and support, she is unable to use the computer tools to be productive and efficient in completing the required tasks.
Without a contract restricting termination, an employer has the right to discharge an employee at any time for any reason. The state of New Jersey At-Will Doctrine allows an employer to fire an employee for “no reason” or even for a reason that might seem illogical and unjust. New Jersey and the state of New York allow some exceptions, which are based on race, creed, national origin, age, handicap, gender, sexual orientation or marital status. By law, if any of these reasons does not apply, then an employer has the legal right to terminate this employee. Before a decision can be made as to whether this employee should be terminated, I would conduct a thorough investigation involving management and the employee to determine the events in question. I would meet with the employee separately to review her job description which would clearly state that in order to do her job; she must acquire the skill of learning the computer application. I would also meet with her manager to find how and when the training that was given conducted. I would consider whether a neutral third person would find the employee’s explanation plausible and if the training the employee received was inadequate. After the investigation was completed, I would determine if additional training would be needed.
The next step would be to have Human Resource and the employee’s manager develop a list of attainable goals that could result in discipline or termination if not met. A time frame would be set in which the goals should be completed. If the problem continues to exist after training has been made available to the employee and the goals are not met (one being not learning the necessary computer application to do her job) I would then have the employee and her manager review the goal setting doctrine and demonstrate that the required skills for her employment has not been met.
As an At-will employer, I would make sure that a disclaimer was in place, making it clear that the existence of company rules does not nullify or in any way change an employee’s at-will status. In addition, I would also include a stipulation stating that the reasons listed are not all-inclusive and that as the employer, I retain the right to terminate employees who, in the employer’s discretion, have either engaged in misconduct or who have not performed at an acceptable level.
2. Describe what steps you take to address the following scenario involving management, behavior and performance:
• The employee tends to burst into a rage when criticized and is frequently late to work as noticed by her boss and other staff members. When her boss attempts to address her behavioral issues and the company late policy, the employee’s response is that she “knows her rights and what to do” if she is wrongfully discharged. She also says she took a business law class in undergrad that taught her “everything she needs to know about exceptions to the employment-at-will doctrine and wrongful discharge in violation of public policy”.
The first step I would do regarding this scenario is to schedule a meeting with management to determine if this employee should be terminated based on her frequent arrival to work late. I would want to know if the company policy on the company’s hours of operation and expectation of starting time was reviewed and distributed to this employee. I would also want to know how it was determined that she arrived to work late, how often and how it was