Employment-at-will is where; an employee employment contract depends on the will of the employer. This means that the employer is free to discharge or fire an employee at his own will. The employer for a "good cause," at no cause at all or bad cause may fire an employee. An employee on the other hand, is free to cease work, quit or strike. In a decision made in the year 2000 by the Supreme Court, an employer has the right to terminate an employee at will for a reason or no reason at all. The employer further may act inconsistently or arbitrarily without providing prior information or warning (Muhl, 2001). This means that the mere existence of an employment contract affords no protective measures by law that employment will end on particular conditions or will continue. This, however, may be so in a case where the employer and the employee have adopted such conditions.
Legal Grounds for Firing Employees
The employment at will status remains the same except in some situations where alteration is necessary in writing by the company's chief executive. Any alterations to the employment at will status need an acknowledgement sign from the employee in question. As a chief operation officer for a company John's criticism on a customer, does not warrant his dismissal. There are exceptions to the dismissal of employees under the public policy, federal or state statutes. This can relate to retaliating against an employee for performing that which complies with the public policy, or in some cases dismissal of employees for refusing to perform an act that is contrary to public policy. There are states, which protects employee interest, for example, the state of Alabama, Louisiana, New York and Florida (summers, 2000).
John has a right to criticize the customer since he has a right to express his feelings. Another exception to the employment at will is implied contracts of employment. Implied contracts of employment are an exception to the employment- at-will. Under this exception, an employer may not fire an employee if an implied contract agreement is present. The problem with this scenario is that it will be difficult for one to prove the implied terms since implied contracts are not in writing. It is the burden of the fired employee to prove that an implied contract was in existence. These implied contracts of employment are in the employer's policy documents indicating conditions for firing employees. If an employer goes against the implied contract of employment, the person is liable for breach of the contract (Muhl, 2001).
As the operating officer, the action of Jim sending emails in inciting people to boycott the next sale meeting warrant termination of employment. Any breach of an employment contract warrants the firing of an employee. For Jim to circulate emails to people protesting against charge commission without first consulting is a violation of the employment contract. Once an employee enters an organization he must adhere to all the rules and terms of employment, and one of the most fundamental terms is to work for the good will of the organization. Therefore, since bonuses and commissions are not contrary to public policy, Jim's action is not beneficial to the organization but a liability. This is a breach to the principal of good faith since Jim did not consult to know why there was a sudden change in commissions and bonuses.
Ellen's blog protest on the bonus of the CEO would warrant dismissal depending on several issues. It is wrong for an employee to protest on a blog about internal operation of the firm if in the first place authorities in the organization do not know. Ellen portrays her bosses as "out- of -touch" and "know -nothings." This may either mean that either Ellen has hidden passions or agenda concerning her bosses or there are problems that need rectification. Malice would warrant firing of employees and, therefore, Ellen's claim need investigation and if either of party if found to have breached the contract disciplinary action is necessary. The covenant of fair dealing and good faith is an exception to the traditional system of employment at- will.
The other exception to the employment-at-will principle is the statutory exceptions. Statutory exceptions are protective measures directed at ensuring that employees get protection against wrongful dismissals. There are anti-discriminatory laws that protect employees from discrimination in employment in relation to color, religion, nationality, age or physical status (summers, 2000). An action by the…
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"Employment-At-Will Doctrine Whistleblower Policy Employment-At-Will Is Where ", 02 November 2013, Accessed.23 April. 2017, http://www.paperdue.com/essay/employment-at-will-doctrine-whistleblower-126161