Professor Annette E. Redmon
Law, Ethics and Corporate Governance
April, 23, 2014
1 Summarize the employment-at-will doctrine and evaluate each of the eight (8) scenarios described by determining:
Whether you can legally fire the employee; include an assessment of any pertinent exceptions to the employment-at-will doctrine.
b. What action you should take to limit liability and impact on operations; specify which ethical theory best supports your decision.
1. John posted a rant on his Face book page in which he criticized the company’s most important customer.
Legally fire the employee based on loyalty to our company and posting negative on the internet. 2. Jim sent an email to other salespeople protesting a change in commission schedules and bonuses and suggesting everyone boycott the next sales meeting.
Legally could fire this employee, though no need to Jim is trying to organize against (protest) commissions, making them understand something new could turn the commission meeting into a positive thing. 3. Ellen started a blog to protest the CEO’s bonus, noting that no one below director has gotten a raise in two (2) years and portraying her bosses as “know-nothings” and “out-of-touch”
Legally fire. Protesting opening, blogging such as this is not considered a ‘private ‘but rather a work related matter
4. Bill has been using his company-issued BlackBerry to run his own business on the side.
Legally fire, Employee using business equipment for personal business or self employment.
5. The secretaries in the accounting department decided to dress in black-and-white stripes to protest a memo announcing that the company has installed key logger software on all company computers.
Legally fire for no cause, even though the secretaries are protesting, another expectation quietly as well about something they do not like that has changed in the office. Explaining to them the benefits of this could turn these protesters around as well.
6. After being disciplined for criticizing a customer in an email (sent from his personal email account on a company computer), Joe threatens to sue the company for invasion of privacy.
Legally fire, based on sending emails on the internet the employer and the law agrees that this is not a private issue. Thus the employee has no grounds for suing.
7. One of the department supervisors requests your approval to fire his secretary for insubordination. Since the secretary has always received glowing reviews, you call her into your office and determine that she has refused to prepare false expense reports for her boss.
Legally fire, but there is an exception to this case as the secretary is doing something against the company, not legal. After the investigation the legal thing to do was fire the employee who had asked this woman to file false paperwork.
8. Anna’s boss refused to sign her leave request for jury duty and now wants to fire her for being absent without permission.
Legally fire but there is an exception in this case the employee is performing a legal duty by attending jury status.
The summary, of employment at will doctrine is a right that was developed in the nineteenth century, giving the employer the power to dismiss employees at will for no cause, good cause or just because. Not to mention morally wrong even if the employee is not guilty. There are exceptions to this doctrine in where employees could not be fired, as punishment for attempting to organize themselves in a union, except for good cause, Also the law protects employees from being fired based on race, age, sex, national origin. With the coming of the internet and the First amendment “privacy” is also becoming an exception to this doctrine as well. Noting that private employees have much more free speech then public employees do as well. Based on all the