LEG 500 – Law, Ethics, and Corporate Governance
The United States is amongst the countries where employment is principally at-will (Stone, 2007). Most countries throughout the world allow employers to dismiss employees for cause such as poor employee performance, misconduct, or following an economic necessity. This doctrine provides respect for freedom of contract and employer deference. At- will implies that an employer can end an employee any time for any given reason. This reason should be legal should not lead to incurring legal liability. Similarly, an employee is free to leave a job at any time for any or no reason with no adverse legal consequences. Further, it implies that an employer may alter the terms of the employment relationship without notice and with no consequences. An employer can alter wages, alter benefits, or reduce pay time off (Wall & Johnson, 2006).
Law Exceptions to the At-Will Presumption
The three typical law exceptions include public policy, implied contract as well as the implied a covenant of good faith. Public Policy Exception law of exception to the at-will presumption protects employees from adverse employment actions that violate public interests. Under the public policy exception, an employee is said to be wrongfully discharged if terminated against explicit, well-established public policy of the State. An example is that an employer may not terminate an employee for filing a workers’ compensation claim when injured while on duty, or for his refusal to break a law at the request of the employer (Muhl, 2001).
The second exception is the Implied Contract exception. This contract may get created in several different ways. One is an oral assurance by a supervisor or employer’s representative. For instance, “We need you here, you have secured job for life!” or “We do not fire employees without offering them a chance for correction of misbehavior”. This two may give rise to an implied contract. Similarly, the employer’s handbooks, policies, and other documented assurances can make an implied contract (Muhl, 2001).
Third is the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. Judicial interpretations of this covenant vary from requiring a just cause following a termination to forbidding terminations in bad faith or those prompted by malice. Such include firing an old employee to avoid paying retirement benefits. Another example is the termination of a salesperson just before a better commission is payable (Muhl, 2001).
Six cases have gotten provided, out of which I chose to evaluate case 2, case 5 and case 6 with reference to the employer/employee and will doctrine. Here I pay more attention to the three exemptions stated.
In case 2, we have Ellen opening a blog to protest CEO’s bonus. It gets explained that the company has not cared to raise the salaries of employees (except the directors) for two. In the blog, Ellen portrays the bosses as a know-nothings and out-of-touch. A profound reference to the employer at will doctrine, retaliation is an additional statute based amongst the doctrine’s presumptions. This provision prohibits employers from firing workers for engaging in necessary claims, particularly concerning overall compensation (e.g. duly salary increment, over-time, and discriminatory compensation) (Wall & Johnson, 2006). As can be seen, Ellen places a complaint on the blog claiming salary increase that has gotten surpassed in two years. The law requires employers to increase salaries of their workers, at least once every financial year (Stone, 2007). Another of Ellen’s claim is discrimination. Superiors are paying themselves bonuses at the expense of the employees, which is wrong. With reference to this, Ellen should not be fired. The only wrong committed is the use of vulgar language that may warrant a punishment and not a termination. The exception gets termed illegal discrimination that the employer has breached (Glenn, 2007).…