Assignment 2: Employment-At-Will Doctrine
Dr. Boneita Campbell
August 6, 2014
Summarize the employment-at-will doctrine discussed in the text and then evaluate three (3) of the six (6) scenarios described by determining: (A) Whether you can legally fire the employee; include an assessment of any pertinent exceptions to the employment-at-will doctrine. (B) The primary action(s) that you should take to limit liability and impact on operations; specify the ethical theory that best supports your decision.
By definition, the employment-at-will doctrine is “the common law rule that holds that whenever an employment relationship is of an indefinite duration, either ...view middle of the document...
Examples include termination for jury duty, worker’s compensation, or refusing to be unlawful at the request of the employer. Along with these three exceptions, there are also laws in place to protect from wrongful termination in regards to discrimination. (Muhl, C., 2001)
Scenario 1: John posted a rant on his Facebook page in which he criticized the company’s most important customer.
If John acted alone with criticizing the customer, then yes, I can legally fire him. If John used discriminatory remarks towards the customer then yes I could legally fire him as well. Now if John was acting with other colleagues and his intentions were to improve or change current conditions for the better, then the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 would protect him from termination. The primary actions that I would take to limit liability would be to already have a company policy outline for social media sites. Yes employees have freedom of speech but nothing said should be a direct attack on one person and/or cause conflict within the company. If an issue needs addressing, the company would prefer that the employee would come to a member of management personally. But if employees need the outlet of social media to vent, just ensure that the statements and issues being made are accurate and true and we will do our best to address concerns. If statement are false and/or is an attack on an individual for no reason, then termination will be given. We would have to use the utilitarianism approach as our ethical theory. The utilitarianism principle states that “the right to behave in a given situation is to choose the alternative that is likely to produce the greatest overall good”. (Halbert/Infulli 2012)
Scenario 2: Bill has been using his company-issued BlackBerry to run his own business on the side.
Using our company’s time and equipment to run your own business is legal grounds for termination. No other work besides the work of our company should be completed using our equipment. Since the blackberry was company-issued, then we have the right to monitor the uses of it at all times. Whether or not there are specific guidelines in place, it should be implied that company equipment should only be used for work purposes only for our company. In the future we will ensure that not only is the policy is implied but that there is documentation to show that the employee understands the policy. Bill should have used virtue ethics in this situation or good character. Bill probably knew that he was in violation of company policy but did it anyway. Virtues are your honesty and doing right instead of wrong.
Scenario 3: Anna’s boss refused to sign her leave request for jury duty and now wants to fire her for being absent without permission.
Whether or not I can legally terminate Anna really depends...