Running head: Employment At Will
Employment at Will: Relationship between Societal Expectations and the Law
BSA535 Business Law
This paper analyzes the relationship between the survey conducted by the Department of Labor in New York and Syracuse areas and the existing law. The survey reviews the law regarding the dismissal of at-will employees for exposing or refusing to partake in criminal or immoral endeavors. Results of the survey were to ascertain societal expectations regarding at-will employment and the law’s content regarding the issue.
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The sample for this article's survey comprised approximately five hundred persons employed in the Syracuse, New York metropolitan area. It was developed through direct contacts with employers. Thirteen employers and a professional association agreed to participate in the study. The largest of the participating organizations employs more than four thousand persons; the smallest, fewer than ten. Most, if not all, of the forty members of the professional association surveyed work for different employers. Accordingly, the survey respondents represent a wide range of organizational perspectives.
It was hypothesized that employment characteristics would be the most important variables in determining societal expectations about the legal protection of at-will employees. Accordingly, the respondent pool was planned to attain a distribution of employees in major occupational groups and nonagricultural sectors of the area economy. Additionally, the research design called for, and achieved, a sufficient number of employees represented by a union to permit comparative analysis with other workers.
Table I compares respondent employment characteristics with Syracuse area characteristics. The sample is quite representative in terms of both major occupational groups and economic sectors. Although there are some discrepancies, all categories are represented. Many of the differences are small, and the overall correspondence between the respondents and the actual data is sufficiently close to allow generalization to the area population. The data also provide useful insights regarding more widespread perceptions toward employees who report or decline to participate in illegal or unethical activity.
For mailed questionnaires, survey researchers place a great deal of emphasis on rates of return because "the greater the response, the more accurately it will estimate parameters in the population sampled. "Follow-up letters to individuals who do not return the initial mailing are a highly successful method of increasing rates of response. Thus, two follow-up mailings in addition to the first were planned.
In the cover letter accompanying the first mailing, the study was presented as a survey of societal attitudes regarding employment law. Because the questionnaire was completely anonymous, the entire sample was sent the first follow-up. Respondents were asked to check an appropriate box and return the second cover letter if they had previously completed the survey; those who did so were omitted from the third, final mailing. The follow-up mailings were sent in approximately two-week intervals. Each included both a copy of the survey instrument and a postpaid return envelope. An excellent return rate of 55.2 percent was achieved.
The questionnaire was divided into four parts. One section asked respondents to rank the relative influence of six factors on an employee's decision whether to blow the whistle in the context of a...