Assignment 1: Employment-At-Will Doctrine
Professor Kimberly Ford
LEG 500: Law, Ethics, and Corporate Governance
Employment-At-Will is a policy that most states in the United States conform to in terms of employment. “At-Will” is when an employer can end a relationship with an employee at any given time, for any reason with the exception of an illegal one, for no reason without having any legal liability. At the same time, the employee is also free to leave their job at any point, for any reason, without any legal consequences. “At-Will” employment does not have a definite period of time, and can ...view middle of the document...
John can be terminated on the grounds of making private company practices public, and putting the company at risk of losing any possible revenue from the current customer, and from any potential customers who may want to conduct business with the company. The ethical theory being put to the test in this scenario is the free market ethics. In terms of the company, the main responsibility is to enhance the value of the shareholder’s investment in the company (Halbert & Ingulli, 2012). Based on the exceptions of the at-will rule, the company would not face any backlash from John’s termination. John was not fired due to illegal discrimination, or retaliation for protected activity, but instead he placed the company at risk of losing one of their important investors.
Jim sent out an email to other salespeople protesting a change in commission schedules and bonuses, suggesting a boycott. Jim can be legally terminated on the grounds of causing disruption in the workplace amongst other employees. Jim’s case would not fall under any of the exceptions to the at-will rule and therefore the company would not be liable if Jim was to attempt to sue. If we were to take a look at deontology, one would say that Jim’s action was based off what he felt was right. However, Jim is causing a disruption in the workplace by sending an email to the other salespeople on company time and on the company’s computer.
Ellen started a blog to protest the CEO’s bonus regarding no one being able to receive a raise for the last two years. She has also called her bosses “no nothings” and “out of touch.” Because Ellen used a public blog to display her opinion about the company and its executives, Ellen can be terminated sharing the company’s operation to the public. While some may think Ellen is protected under the whistleblowing policy, Ellen also called her bosses “no nothings” on a public networking site. Ellen should have brought her concerns to her superiors before making it a public matter. Ellen would not be protected under the exceptions because her version of “whistleblowing” isn’t considered a protected activity.
Whistleblowing can be described as calling attention to wrongdoing in an organization. One of the ways to report whistleblowing is to report the violation to the proper authorities. (Nadler & Schulman, 2006.) By applying the ethical theory of utilitarianism,
the proper way to behave in a certain situation is to find an alternative that is likely to produce the greatest over all good (Halbert & Ingulli, 2012). Ellen could have brought this matter to a higher authority to investigate rather than place it on social network.
Bill has been using the company Blackberry to conduct his own business on the side. Bill should be terminated as he is using a device that was given to him by the company for company purpose to run his own business on the side. Bill is abusing the privilege of having his Blackberry. The company would not be liable in...