As Wilson (2015) explains, the employment at will doctrine dictates that the employment is just for an indefinite time and can be terminated either by the employee or an employer if there is no contract at all. It is the approach that is taken by courts in interpreting the employer employee relationship. However, with time, the law has been adjusted to ensure that there are some exceptions which ensure that the employers do not go against the law or the terms of contracts when dealing with employees or when terminating their employments.
In one scenario, a supervisor has requested for an approval to fire his secretary on the grounds of insubordination. Upon doing more investigation, I came to learn that the issue is that the secretary had actually refused to file false expenses reports for her boss. Firing such a secretary would have resulted to great serious litigation against the company as it is against labor law and the employment-at-will doctrine exceptions. Most of the states in the United States, do not allow an employee to terminate the employment of an employee for the refusal to violate the law upon the employers request. It is apparently clear that the supervisor wanted the secretary to break law in the way of filing false expenses reports. In this case, the public policy exception protects the secretary from such firing. At the same time, if the supervisor was allowed to fire the secretary, it would amount to unlawful retaliation (Acharya, Baghai, & Subramanian, 2014).
Instead of firing the secretary, the secretary should give this evidence where the supervisor will be put to disciplinary action for one trying to compel the secretary to falsify the expenses reports and two, for seeking to fire the secretary for refusing to falsify the expenses reports. This will go along well to tell the whole company that justice is not just for the seniors but cuts across the board. In addition to that, the supervisor will have to undergo thorough ethics training before reinstatement
The other case is that of the Ellen who started a blog to protest the CEOs bonus citing that no employee below the CEO had received any salary increment for the last two years. Again, as a CEO, firing such an employee would land the company into more liabilities as Ellen has good ground to sue the company based on a certain exception in the doctrine. According to Wilson (2015) state courts found an exception in the employment at- will doctrine which is the public policy exception. The interpretation of this exception is that an employee cannot be terminated for filling workers compensation as it would amount to retaliation. An important point worth noting is the North Carolina labor policies on such kind of retaliation. If one is discharged for complaining about the wages, one has the right to have a retaliation claim (Acharya, Baghai, & Subramanian, 2014).
The primary step to take as the CEO is to engage on a salaries review exercise and seeing to it that the employees are fairly compensated. This can be an all inclusive exercise. To ensure that this challenge is dealt with once and for good, there will be an establishment of a team that is to deal with continuous performance appraisal, ensuring that there is fair rewarding of the best performing employees on the basis of merit. This will go along well with motivating the employees.
Annas boss refused to sign her leave request for jury duty and now wants to fire her for being absent without permission. At this juncture, it is worth mentioning that the federal law confers the employees the right for time for jury duties, the reason for which Anne is seeking the leave. The North Carolina laws give the employees rights to jury unpaid leave and after returning to the job be returned to the initial job position if not higher. In this case, firing Anna could result to court battles if Anna got fired. As much as Anna was absent without permission, firing her would imply that the boss did that as retaliation, considering that he had refused to sign her leave without a good reason. According to Dau-Schmid, Finking, & Covington, R. (2016), in most of the jurisdictions, North Carolina included provides employees with a sound legal remedy in terms of tort for the case of a retaliatory or wrongful discharge
The court would have a ground to remedy her as it may be viewed as one that constitutes unreasonable discharge. In this case, as the CEO, the best thing is to get to the bottom of the matter and have a deep understanding on why the boss never signed her leave for jury duty . We are not told that her absenteeism was as a way of defying the boss. On the other hand, the law requires that employees and employers cooperate fully when it comes to matters of jury duty, implying that any litigation would result to serious case in favor of this particular employee (Hayford, Prenkert, & Raymond, 2014).
As the CEO, the most common phenomenon that I face in the company is that of retaliations by the senior staff members. One boss retaliating because Anne never adhered to refusal to have a leave and retaliation because a junior member refused to falsify accounting reports among many others. These are very common cases which can cost a company a lot both on its name and financially if taken to court. I have witnessed many court cases that pertain to retaliations and the results are not admirable.
In year 2013, a court in Texas is reported to have awarded $10million to five workers to workers who claimed to have been retaliated against for filling lawful workers compensation claims. In the same year, a court in California also awarded a sales person $850,000 after claiming that he was retaliated for the same thing: filling workers compensation claims. According to these claims are becoming more frequent, where in most cases the employees gets awarded high amount of money. Therefore, ill disciplinary actions need to be avoided in the company by all means possible.
In conclusion, there is a serious crisis in the company where the senior company employees are seeking to fire the employees for very meager reasons. This may serve to demotivate the employees as they will feel insecure in the organization. As a result, the company may end up losing most talented workers to competing firms, a trend that is to pull the company behind. To ensure that this does not happen, a thorough reshuffle needs to be done to deal with some of these personal differences. Further to that, there will be a clear channel for receiving complaints from both junior and senior employees. Finally, other activities like sports will be implemented to cultivate good relationships among the workers. The senior employees needs to attend seminars and learn means of commanding respect from their juniors without extending biased ill considered disciplinary actions.
Acharya, V. V., Baghai, R. P., & Subramanian, K. V. (2014). Wrongful discharge laws and innovation. Review of Financial Studies, 27(1), 301-346.
Dau-Schmidt, K. G., Finkin, M., & Covington, R. (2016). Legal protection for the individual employee. San Fransisco: West Academic.
Hayford, S., Prenkert, J. D., & Raymond, A. H. (2014). Employment Arbitration at the Crossroads: An Assessment and Call for Action. Journal of Dispute Resolution, 255.
Wilson, B. (2015). Employment at Will in Ohio: Working From Within. Akron Law Review, 20(3), 6.
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