The employment at will doctrine exists in the United State employment laws that state that either party in the employment relationship can sever the relationship with no liability, so long as there was no definite contract for a definite term of employment governing the relationship and that the employee does not belong to any union or bargaining group.
Should she be fired?
According to Stone, (2007), the employees’ skills, competencies and abilities are put to test in this scenario. She is unable to perform as per the standards of the employer, even after the employer has trained her for three months on the computer applications relevant to her performance at work. The firm is legally allowed to fire her based on the employment at will doctrine because there is no apparent reason why she cannot be productive and efficient in completing her tasks. In most cases, the descriptive requirements of the competencies required are always written in the job profile and qualified by the level at which the job should be performed. She does not have any disability that can hinder her to perform her duties.
In this case the reason or cause for termination is poor performance, which provides the legal implications for the employee verses the employer. The employer is free to fire the employee without fearing legal process to be found liable for breach of any contract. On the other hand, she consistently tells her boss that she is a good worker and a genius, and that the boss does not appreciate her. This fact should be approached carefully by the employer, because she could really be a genius, and geniuses are known to be people who can grasp skills, competencies, and abilities very fast. If she can prove this in court, then there is no way the employer can insist that she is incompetent in her duties, yet the court may find that she had learnt the abilities and skills required to perform her duties efficiently.
For the employer to reduce any risks, or liability on its part, is by modifying the contract to include situations or employee actions that would lead to termination for cause. The employer may try and go on this case a little bit slowly, some of the options the employer has is to try and know the actual reason why the employee is no performing as per the set standards. Given that the employee insists that the boss does not appreciate her, should give the boss a hint into the dismal performance of the employee. The employer should try and investigate further the reasons why this employee is making such allegations, because if she can prove this fact in court, then the employer risks incurring liability.
This particular case has no exceptions to the employment at will doctrine (Budd, 2004). As much as, the At will employment is an arrangement that is justified as fair balance of interest between workers and their employers, it may be prone to abuse. Some exceptions make it unlawful for employers to take adverse actions against the employee for specific bad reasons. In this case, there are no exceptions to the employment at will doctrine, but the civil rights laws may provide some exceptions if she is a government employee.
Should she be fired?
The employees’ behaviours are against the behaviour policies of the company, such as the company late policy of which the employee is aware of. Her rage and kind of response when criticized is totally uncalled for and irresponsible. The company is not particularly free of incurring legal liability in the case of the employee’s outbursts when confronted. There could be many factors that make her behave in this manner, such as psychological factors in her upbringing, her emotional maturity, her values and her personality. Given that she asserts that she knows her rights and what to do, maybe she has seen some loophole in the employer’s handbooks, policies and practices. But for the case of coming late to work, the employer is free to terminate her employment, because this is well stated in the company’s late policy. Employees must arrive on time at work, follow orders, accept limited freedom of speech and conform to a host of regulations (Glynn, Arnow & Sullivan, 2007).
The legal implications for the employer versus employee relationship is that the employer is free to give orders to the employee who must be followed, the employee has limited speech, so she should control the kind of words she uses to respond to the criticism. There would be no wrongful termination on the part of the employer in relation to the employee reporting to work late. For her outbursts, the employee may actually know something from her undergraduate, on the exceptions to the ‘employment at will doctrine’ and ‘wrongful discharge’ in violation of public policy. However, public policy does not protect the employee as the company has not violated any public interest.
The employer preventive measures to avoid legal liabilities are having concrete evidence on the employee’s late reporting and only to stick to this cause for termination. The employer must know why this lady behaves in this manner when confronted, with this knowledge the employer will be in a good position to defend himself, that the apparent outburst are nothing related to the psychological health of the employee. Because if she has an underlying psychological problem, then the employer may face risk of incurring liability, if this can be proven in court, because the employer cannot sack her on health grounds.
The exceptions may only arise in the case of the employee’s outburst when confronted (Don, 2007). There are definitely no exceptions in relation to the employee coming late to work, and this is enough reason or cause for termination. The kind of exceptions would be related to health issues if she can prove that she is psychologically unwell. Public policy is the most recognised exception in the common law, which may vary very significantly according to the way it may be construed. This particular public policy that the employee is talking about, will depend on how she interprets the common law, which might be expressed in the state constitution.
Glynn, P, Arnow-R, &, Sullivan, C. (2007). Employment Law: Private Ordering and Its Limitations. New York: Aspen Publishers,
Stone, W, (2007) “Revisiting the At-Will Employment Doctrine: Imposed Terms, Implied Terms and the Normative World of the Workplace,” Industrial Law Journal
Don M, (2007). The [Missing] Ethical Development of the Strategic Leaders of the Army Profession for the 21st Century,” conference paper, XIII Annual Strategy Conference, Carlisle, PA, April 10, p. 2.
Tichy N, (1997). The Leadership Engine, New York: Harper Business, p. 26.
Budd W, (2004). Employment with a Human Face: Balancing Efficiency, Equity and Voice Ithaca: Cornell University Press,86-88.
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