Employment at Will Thoroughly Describe What Steps Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Employment at Will

Thoroughly describe what steps you would take to address the following scenario involving skills, competence, and abilities:

• The 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 this situation, there is clearly a disconnect between the expectations of the firm and the perception of the employee. It is therefore the company's responsibility to insure that the employee thoroughly understands the responsibilities of her position as it relates to the overall job function. The company can accomplish this in a verity of methods. The first being a comprehensive overview of the job functions of the position and where the employee stands relative to those functions. A scoring system or balanced scorecard, rating each method in a manner that is both comprehensive and intuitive to the average person, is suggested. Annual, quarterly or monthly reviews are also welcome to insure that the employee understands the expectations of the firm and where they subsequently stand relative to those expectations. If subsequent progress has not been made relative to the skills and competencies needed to perform the needed job functions, the employer does have the right to fire the employee, if no predetermined work time frame was discussed. Due to the employment at will doctrine, employers do have the right to immediately terminate the working relationship with no warning. The supreme court of California has also reaffirmed this case in 2000 when after a very contentious trial it explained, "An employer may terminate its employees at will, for any or no reason. The employer may act peremptorily, arbitrarily, or inconsistently, without providing specific protections such as prior warning, fair procedures, objective evaluation, or preferential reassignment. The mere existence of an employment relationship affords no expectation, protectable by law that employment will continue, or will end only on certain conditions, unless the parties have actually adopted such terms." Such is the case in the above scenario. The employee has misunderstanding relative to her skills and competencies. It is the firm's job to make sure the employee has a clear understanding of the overall expectations of the job and how the employee is performing relative to those expectations. After sufficient time has elapsed, if no improvement is made, the company can terminate the relationship will no warning as discussed by the Supreme Court of California in 2000 (Haymes, 2001).

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

• The employee tends to burst into a rage when criticized and is frequently late to work as noticed by her boss and other staff members. When her boss attempts to address her behavioral 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. 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."

In this situation, the first step would be a thorough attempt to remedy the grievances of both parties involved. In this case, the employer wants the employee to be more punctual in regards to their work schedule. The employee believes she is being wrongly accused and therefore burst into anger when criticized by management. Both parties must first understand the views of each other relative to the overall work environment. Meetings, discussions, or calls can provide a means of determining, the actual cause of the underlying problem. Once both parties can come to mutual beneficial arrangement, actions can be taking to help alleviate future tardiness. In the event that the employee continues to come to work late, the employer, under the employment at will doctrine does have the right to fire the employee. The employee in this case exclaims that she, "…knows her rights and what to do." In this situation, prior precedent has shown that employees have very few rights in regards to employment at will. In roughly 37 states, the implied contract law may be an exception to the employment at will doctrine. In this instance, an employer may not fire an employee when an implied contract is formed between both parties even though no express, written instrument regarding the employment relationship exists. The burden of proof in this instance lies with individual employee, which in court, is difficult to provide. Recent law cases also suggest that the implied contract law is often trumped by that of the employee at will doctrine. In 2006, the Texas Court of Civil Appeals in Matagorda County Hospital District v. Burwell and Tameny v. Atlantic Richfield held that a provision in an employee handbook requiring records to specify the reason for termination did not modify an employee's at-will employment (1980). In this case, the court maintained the employers right to terminate an employee relationship without prior notice. The New York Court of Appeals also rejected the implied-contract theory to circumvent employment at will. In Anthony Lobos, Appellant v. New York Telephone Company/NYNEX, Respondent and Toussaint v. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Michigan the court restated the prevailing rule that an employee could not maintain an action for wrongful discharge, as the above employee intends to do. The only other exception to the employment at will doctine is that of public policy (Toussaint, 1980). In Adams v. George W. Cochran & Co. The court held that an employer can not retaliate against an employee for complying with public policy such as informing authorities of illegal acts, or acts of abuse. Clearly, in the above situation, the employee can not use this exception (Adams, 2004). Finally, in the Supreme Court of California case mentioned above, the court held that the length of an employee's long and successful service is not evidence of an implied contract. In all three cases mentioned, the burden of proof was on the employee, which subsequently failed in court. As such, the employer after through discussion over the employee's tardiness does have the right to fire the individual if progress is not being made regarding timeliness (Rothstein, 1987).

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

• The employee takes a day off from work, without management consent, for her religious holiday observance that falls on a day that is during " tax season." 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. Also, there is no labor union for accountants. However, she begins talking to her co-workers during lunch breaks and sometimes during regular work hours, encouraging them to organize and form a union to "protect ourselves."

The company in many instances is required to make religions accommodations for employees. These accommodations, although occurring during a busy period, must be adhered to by the company. Prior to hiring, the company must understand thoroughly the availability of a potential candidate during the tax season. This will provide the company with a better understanding of what days a candidate may take off. By thoroughly addressing the availability issue prior to employment, the company can prevent days off during the busiest periods of the year. It is also the right of employees to form labor unions if they elect to do. The obligation and burden in this circumstance relies heavily on the company. The company should first be engaged with its employee base in order to prevent unionization. Employee engagement starts foremost with the overall work environment. I would first ensure that the work environment is one in which is favorable to all employees. If discrepancies arise, then management must adequately address them in a manner suitable to both parties involved. Through proper engagement, and commensurate pay, labor union activity will be prevented. Steps can also be taken legally to prevent solicitation within the company of labor unions (National Labor Relations Board, 1958). The company does have the right to prevent solicitations within the confines of its premises. Outside of work however, the law does not apply. Management should be sure to not allow solicitations of labor unions within the workplace.

4. Thoroughly describe what steps you would take to address the following scenario involving policies and procedures:

• the employee's supervisor consistently asks her out on dates; the employee initially refuses to go out on a date with her supervisor. The employee later discusses the issue with her girlfriend who encourages her to accept his offers. During her new employee orientation, the employee was informed of the company policy which prevented employees from dating their supervisor…

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