Employment-At-Will Doctrine Essay Sample

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Introduction of TOPIC

1. Describe what steps you would take to address the following scenario involving skills, competence and abilities.

The following steps that would be taken to address when an employee seems to be unable to learn the computer applications that are basic to her job responsibilities, but consistently “tells” her boss that she is “a good worker and a genius” and that he does not “appreciate her”. Even after a few months of training and support, she is unable to use the computer tools to be productive and efficient in completing the required tasks in my opinion are pretty basic. This is simply a case for termination with good case even though this does not legally need to be stated in an employment-at-will environment (Roehling & Boswel, 2012). As an employer working under the employment-at-will doctrine the employee would have first signed legal documents that she knew she was working under these circumstances. There would also have been a probationary period that this employee knew existed to ensure that she was properly trained and could perform the functions that she was assigned. This would have given the employer the right under this doctrine to terminate an employee who was not productive and could not perform her duties.

As a manager and supervisor I would periodically have done assessments on this employees performs, sat down with her to see where her weaknesses were, provided the needed training she required to perform her job and would have documented all this in her employee file. If after several months of training and support she was still unable to perform her duties then I would proceed with the process of terminating her. It is understandable that she is well educated and recently out of college but even with the proper training she was still unable to use the computer tools to be productive and efficient in doing her job. It is obvious that she is not qualified for the position she was hired for and should be terminated. Under the employment-at-will doctrine the documentation is not required but is necessary in my opinion to ensure any repercussions that might arise from her termination and would answer or justify any question that may arise from her termination.

2. Describe what steps you would take to address the following scenario involving management, behavior, and performance.

When an employee tends to burst into a rage when criticized and is frequently late to work as noticed by her boss and other staff members and when her boss attempts to address her behavior issues and the company late policy, the employee’s response is that she “knows her rights and what to do” if she is wrongfully discharged. Furthermore, she also says she took a business law class in undergrad that taught her “everything she needs to know about exceptions to the employment-at-will doctrine and wrongful discharge in violation of public policy then as a manager or supervisor of this individual I would again first try counseling this individual in the areas she needs counseling in before taking any actions. If to no avail I would then confer with our Human Resource department to see what are options would be concerning this individual. There may be certain conditions within her contract such as duration of employment or other such conditions that would prevent her dismissal or be considered wrongful dismissal.

I believe that if stated in company guidelines or a handbook that her constant tardiness and unprofessional outburst were grounds for termination and if further investigation into wrongful discharge in violation of public policy I would proceed with the termination. Under the ex

ceptions to the employment-at-will doctrine she has no proper grounds for a suit against the company

if terminated with regards’ to her history of tardiness and unprofessionalism. We must first make sure that her contract is thoroughly reviewed first and her termination does not violate any conditions in her contract. The exception to employment-at-will doctrine mainly deals with discrimination, sexual harassment, ethical issues regarding trying to forcibly make an employee to something that is illegal and other such situations (Willey, 2009). It does not necessarily apply in this particular case concerning this particular individual but I would not take any steps in her termination with first consulting with our Human Resourse Department.

3. Describe what steps you would take to address the following scenario involving labor and laws.

An employee who takes a day off from work, without management consent, for her religious holiday observance that falls on a day that is during “tax season” and the day off occurred during an incredibly busy period for the company during which the employer had notified all employees they were not allowed to take off without prior management approval make for a delicate situation. Furthermore, this same employee, noticing that there is no labor union for accountants, begins talking to her co-workers during lunch breaks and sometimes during regular work hours, encourages them to organize to for a union to “protect themselves” makes for an even for difficult situation concerning her employment behavior. Discrimination concerning religion is a very difficult situation to deal with even though in this particular case it has to do with an employee taking a day off without prior approval as required by her employer, it was still a day she took off to observe a religious holiday that fell under her religion.

I would have consulted with either the legal department or the Human Resource department to see what if any written warning can be given to this individual. This is a very delicate situation that needs to be handled by someone who has the knowledge of how our legal system works when it pertains to religion and the workplace and what is considered discrimination. I don’t see it as a reason for termination but maybe more in the sense that she be written up for failure to follow proper procedures for requesting time off. As for her conduct regarding speaking to employees about unionizing there are laws that prohibit an employee being terminated for discussing unionization in the work place. Both of these of these situations are very delicate and have to be handle in the most proper manner in order to avoid a law suit from the employee. I would have these situations handled by the proper departments that know more about the laws under these curcumstances. Although, all states have an employment-at-will, Florida is one of the few states that does not recognize exceptions but it does not mean that a law suit cannot occur (Gibson, 2010). The empolyment-at-will can be interpreted differently in different states and have different outcomes from state to state.

4. Describe what steps you would taketo address the following scenario involving policies and procedures.

When an employee’s supervisor consistently asks an employee out on dates and the employee intially refuses to go out on a date with the supervisor, right now the supervisor has opened up grounds for the employee to claim sexual harassment. Later the employee is ecourage by her girlfriend to accept his offer but during her new employee orientation is informed that a company policy exsist which prevent employees from dating their supervisor, was given a handbook with the written policy and she and her supervisor later begin to have a consensual relationship then they both now have opened up grounds for termination. The employment-at-will doctrine and any exceptions would not play a part in the grounds for a defense against termination because the written handbook policies given to the employees against such conduct could override the employment-at-will doctrine and justify there termination (Sentell & Robbins, 2008).

As a manager of these two employees I would have and obligation to first terminate the supervisor for putting the company at risk for asking one of his employee out on a date in the first place knowing that there was a policy against it. The fact that he continued to ask this employee out on dates even after her initial refusal opened the company up for sexual harassment charges from this employee had she chose to pursue it. After the fact, the employee then chose to date her supervisor after going thru orientation and being advised of policies against such conduct and even given a handbook stating these policies justifies her termination as well. We have to be careful here too, though, because she could state that she only accepted his offer because she felt obligated to due to the fact that he was her boss. There still could be some legal ramifications from that as will. Either way, the supervisor who did the initial asking needs to have disiplinary action taken because he put the company in harms way legally.


Gibson, J. W. (2010). The Evolution Of Employment-At-Will: Past, Present, And Future Predictions. American Journal Of Business Education , 89-100.

Roehling, M., & Boswel, l. W. (2012). “Good Cause Beliefs” in an “At-Will World”? Employee Responsibilities & Rights Journal , 211-231.

Sentell, E., & Robbins, R. (2008). EMPLOYMENT AT-WILL. Journal Of Legal, Ethical & Regulatory Issues , 1-15.


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