At-Will Employment

In: Business and Management

Submitted By estellrecht
Words 4012
Pages 17
At-Will Employment Law | Exceptions, Risks, and Direction | Ehren Stellrecht, Sadie Nelson, Jesse McNaught BUS 305-01 |

Employers today take many risks in running their businesses. Whether they are large or small employers, hiring and firing personnel is a fact of business. Termination (and therefore hiring) is increasingly viewed with caution, in part, because of the uncertainty regarding the law surrounding termination of employment. We will examine the law pertaining to employment relationships by exploring the employment-at-will doctrine. We will show how the at-will doctrine has evolved since its inception; then we will discuss whether the United States is generally moving toward just-cause employment.

History and Explanation of the At-will Employment Doctrine
Horace Wood is attributed with the creation of the at-will doctrine in 1877 in a legal treatise called Master and Servant where he described at-will employment. Some scholars say the United States had no such doctrine in the common law before this time and the use of Wood’s treatise in case law allowed a large step to be taken away from the English idea of employment rights. One oft quoted, early decision describing and favoring the at-will doctrine is in a Tennessee case, Payne v. Western & Atlantic Railroad Co. in which the judge declares “All may dismiss their employees at will, be they many or few, for good cause, for no cause[,] or even for cause morally wrong, without being thereby guilty of legal wrong” (Standler, 2000).
At-will employment in Wood’s sense combines two important concepts of employment: When an employee can leave or be terminated, and for what reason he can be terminated. Barring a contracted specification, there is little or no controversy about the time at which an employee can be dismissed. It is the…...

Similar Documents

Employment at Will

...1) YOUR EMPLOYMENT RELATIONSHIP To know whether your discharge was legal, start with what kind of employment relationship you and your employer had. Highest employees are in at-will employment relationships; union workers have collective bargaining agreements; and public employees may be covered by state laws, local laws, or regulations. To evaluate your employment relationship, you should look at the following materials: (1) any letters that you got to apply for the job, (2) any letter you gotten that offered you the job, (3) any new employee adaptation materials or employee handbooks you got, (4) any contracts or agreements that you signed, (5) any union contracts or laws and regulations that assign to your employment, and (6) your personal file, which you can receive from a human resources representative at your employer. a) At-will Employment Most employers introduce their workplace rules and policies in an employee handbook. A common outline in those handbooks is a statement that employment with the employer is “at-will”. Generally speaking, at-will employment refers to an employment relationship under which an employer can terminate an employee’s employment at any time, for any reason (other than an illegal reason), and the employee can resign his or her employment at any time, for any reason. Employers generally include at-will employment converse in employee handbooks to analyze that, by setting forth the employer’s policies in writing in a handbook, no clear or......

Words: 2397 - Pages: 10


...Job Competency and Employment-At-Will Professor Ilya Enkishev, Strayer University LEG500, Assignment 1 April 16, 2012 Assignment 1, Scenario 1: 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. Describe what steps you would take to address the following scenario involving skills, competence, and abilities: As a manager and supervisor, it is my responsibility to see that employees in my department are successfully contributing to the firm. The new employee, Jennifer, has been hired under the assumption that she is capable of fulfilling the specific responsibilities within her position. I would first meet with Jennifer to discuss the status of her projects. During this session, I would encourage her by stressing the importance of her position and how its contributions directly influence the success of the firm. The two of us could review her project timelines and the steps and skills needed to meet each deadline. By reviewing the late and incomplete status of her assigned tasks, she would gain a broader, more objectionable understanding of how her work is assessed by the firm. I would assure her that her......

Words: 1129 - Pages: 5


...dfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmrtyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnm Employment-at-will Lateefah Muhammad/ course Leg500 1/28/2013 Elvin Gamble | As a manager or supervisor for an accounting company, it’s my responsibility for developing and incorporating new talent into the department. I would only hope that the Human Resource department does a decent job on selecting the right person for the job with the right skills, competence and the abilities. Sometimes we can hope the best but in most cases that is not the case depending upon the department that is in charge of the hiring. An accounting supervisor is involved in all areas of a business that deals with money. Jennifer, who is a recent graduate, is working within the group and can’t keep up with her daily assignments, which has caused the group to......

Words: 1289 - Pages: 6

At-Will Employment

...At-Will Employment Kimberly Money University of Phoenix Thomas Kershaw HRM546 February 22, 2010 At-Will Employment Employment at will states “employment relationships for an indefinite term can be terminated at any time for good cause, for bad cause, or for no cause at all” (Arkansas Employment, 2010). The exceptions to this rule are: Union Contracts Written employment agreements federal and state anti-discrimination statutes statutes protecting employees called for jury duty statutes protecting employees who vote Fair labor Standards Act Occupational Safety and Health Act Employee Retirement Income Security Act Other statutory exceptions giving employees certain rights under certain circumstances. At my organization they make it very clear before anyone accepts employment that they are an at-will employer. One thing that the company makes sure happens at the start of employment is that no time frame is mentioned when discussing salary that exceeds 2 weeks, and our handbook has the statement that this is not a contract on every page. When discussing this with our human resource manager, he stated that because of the precautions they take from the beginning, exceptions have never had an effect on the company. Independent Contractors vs. Employees Our company uses independent contractors in two different areas of the organization. Our construction crews are all outside......

Words: 464 - Pages: 2


...Assignment 1: Employment-At-Will Doctrine LEG500 – Law, Ethics, and Corporate Governance Employment-At-Will Employment at will was installed in United States labor law during the Industrial Revolution in the late 1800’s. Initially without modifications, employment at will meant that a worker who labored for an unspecified time labored at the wishes of the owner. However, lacking a clause in an agreement, either participant may possibly end the employment without a motive. At first sight, employment at will seemed to be an impartial policy that gave the owner and the worker a way out of an unwanted working relationship. Nevertheless, the policy actually worked to the advantage of the owner, the person who typically has the upper hand in the relationship (Zachary, 2012, p. 21). This does not insinuate that managers can randomly terminate workers with no good faith consultation, equality, and unbiased procedures. Managers have to express an honest attempt to rectify the worker’s performance or the additional problems that led to firing the employer. “Because we have at will employment” it shall not be exercised as grounds to terminate a worker (Heathfield, n.d.). As the manager, I must analyze the employment-at-will doctrine and determine what, if any, exceptions and liabilities exist before taking any action in regards to the following scenarios: 1. John posted a rant on his Facebook page in which he criticized the company’s most important customer. John can......

Words: 1672 - Pages: 7

At-Will Employment

...How is employment-at-will applied in your organization or in one with which you are familiar? Employment-at-will is defined as “an employment relationship where there is no contractual obligation to remain in the relationship; either party may terminate the relationship at any time, for any reason, as long as the reason is not prohibited by law, such as for discriminatory purpose.” (Bennett-Alexander, D. & Hartman, L. 2007). The employment-at-will is actually a concept that my current company speaks about weekly to our employees. I currently work for a staffing and recruiting firm that employs candidates in engineering, nursing, administrative, and IT roles in the state of Michigan. Discussion on this topic is weekly due to what my company’s actions are. Since we do employ candidates, we have to discuss the at-will scenario. This does not just apply to our candidates we staff out but to our recruiters and staff members as well. We are employed at the employer’s discretion and have a strict policy on our employment. If goals and matrix are not met, there is a disciplinary action. This results in counseling with team leaders and managers. The first round is verbal consult which describes what is going on. If the matrix is still not achieved, a written warning will than issued allowing the recruiter or employee to have at least 30 days to improve. After the time frame, if the matrix is not met and no movement has taken place, the employee is than let go. Within our......

Words: 916 - Pages: 4

Employment at Will

...Assignment 1: Employment-At-Will Doctrine Employment-at-will is the current employment practice performed in the United States. Employment-at-will states that an employer can terminate an employee for any reason; good, bad or indifferent. It also allows the employee to leave the employment of the company at any time and for any reason. Over the years following the adoption of the employment-at-will doctrine, there have been some exceptions applied that employers must follow when it comes to terminating their employees In the 1980s, employees started to lose more when terminated. This was due to the increase in the number of people working for someone else. Upon termination, employees were losing pension, insurance, and any other benefit they were receiving while employed. Employees started to become more and more dissatisfied with the employment-at-will doctrine and started to challenge it by bringing suits to the courts claiming Wrongful Discharge. (Employment at will, 2013) Many of these suits won and the courts created exceptions to the employment-at-will practice. These exceptions now make it difficult for an employer to terminate an employee without the individual trying to sue for damages. These exceptions can be broadly grouped into 4 categories. These are Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, “breach of contract by the employer, breach of an implied Covenant of Good Faith and fair dealing, and violation of public policy by the employer.” (Employment......

Words: 2237 - Pages: 9


...NORFOK AIRPORT AUTHORITY® 2200 Norview Avenue Norfolk, Virginia 23518 (757) 857-3405 EMPLOYMENT APPLICATION AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER Norfolk Airport Authority® is an equal opportunity employer. In accordance with state and federal laws, employment offers are tendered solely on the basis of qualifications without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, age, sex, disability, genetic information or veteran status. If hired, this Employment Application will become part of your employment record. Please type or print with ink, answering all items completely and accurately, using “no,” “none,” or “not applicable,” as appropriate. We will give this application consideration, however, in accepting it; the Authority makes no commitment of employment. This application will remain active for the position applied for for a period of six months from the date completed, after which time you are permitted to reapply in accordance with established Authority procedures. PLEASE PRINT ALL INFORMATION ALL QUESTIONS MUST BE ANSWERED GENERAL INFORMATION Position Applied For: Name: Last First Middle Position Number: Home #: Work #: ( ( ( ) Yes No May we contact you at work? Address: Street City State Zip ) ) E-Mail: (E-Mail address is optional, but will give our office an alternate method of contacting you) Alternate #: Social Security Number: Are you 21 years of age or older? Are you legally authorized to work in the United States? Have you......

Words: 2098 - Pages: 9

Employment at Will

...Employment-At-Will Doctrine Sherita Pittman October 26, 2014 Master of Business Administration LEG 500 Strayer University Employment and employee go hand and hand at some point in life. Work is defined as, exertion or effort directed to produce or accomplish something; labor; toil and employment is, an occupation by which a person earns a living; work; business ( (2014). As the Chief Operating Officer (COO) in a midsize company preparing for an Initial Public Offering (IPO). I have discovered multiple personnel problems that require immediate attention and faced with difficult decisions to be made. In this paper I will discuss the employment-at-will-doctrine and examine three scenarios described, analyze whether legally I can fire the employees by including an assessment of any pertinent expectations to employment-at-will doctrine, the primary actions I should take to limit liability and impact on operations and examine the state’s policy on employment-at-will by analyzing one real-world example of an employee or employer utilizing state’s employment-at-will doctrine in the last five-year. As an astute manager, I have analyze the employment-at-will doctrine and determine what, if any, exceptions and liabilities exist before taking any action. As I proceed with the investigation, I discover the company has no whistleblower policy. The employment-at-will doctrine is the legal doctrine that gives employers a broad discretion to fire......

Words: 1016 - Pages: 5

Employment at Will

...Employment-At-Will Doctrine Student Name: Muhamed F Aref Professor Name: Agustine Weekley Course Name: Law and Ethics in the Business Environment Date: 11/09/2014 The doctrine of employment at will emerged as the predominant rule in wrongful discharge cases in America during the latter part of the 19th century. This doctrine states that the business should have the freedom to discharge or retain employees at will for good cause, for no cause, or even for bad cause, without thereby being guilty of an unlawful act. It is a right which an employee may exercise in the same way, to the same extent, for the same cause or want of cause as the employer. In essence, the doctrine recognizes that the wage owner of his labor services, and the business the full owner of his capital. Each is free to exchange on whatever terms they see fit. Thus, the doctrine of employment at-Will is well established in the American legal system. I recent years, however, this doctrine has been eroding. Many employers now find that the legal environment relative to the right to fire is confusing and ripe with potential liability. In essence, employment at will a term that is music in the ears of most employers is under attack. During the early 19th century, the United States adopted the English rule as part of their common law. By the late 1800’s, however, most jurisdictions had abandoned this principle. Reasoning was that restrictions on terminating employment were inconsistent with the......

Words: 1687 - Pages: 7


...gffghf All employees have an employment contract with their employer. A contract is an agreement that sets out an employee’s: * employment conditions * rights * responsibilities * duties These are called the ‘terms’ of the contract. Employees and employers must stick to a contract until it ends (eg by an employer or employee giving notice or an employee being dismissed) or until the terms are changed (usually by agreement between the employee and employer). If a person has an agreement to do some work for someone (like paint their house), this isn’t an employment contract but a ‘contract to provide services’. Accepting a contract As soon as someone accepts a job offer they have a contract with their employer. An employment contract doesn’t have to be written down. All employees have an employment contract with their employer. A contract is an agreement that sets out an employee’s: * employment conditions * rights * responsibilities * duties These are called the ‘terms’ of the contract. Employees and employers must stick to a contract until it ends (eg by an employer or employee giving notice or an employee being dismissed) or until the terms are changed (usually by agreement between the employee and employer). If a person has an agreement to do some work for someone (like paint their house), this isn’t an employment contract but a ‘contract to provide services’. Accepting a contract As soon as someone accepts a job offer they have a......

Words: 374 - Pages: 2

Employment at Will

...Employment-At-Will Doctrine Clifford Stone Law Ethics & Corporate Governance, Week 5 Professor Muhammad May 11, 2015 Many people including myself are surprised to learn, whether from an employment contract or employee handbook, that they are an at-will employee. Well, what does being an at-will employee mean? Under the Florida law, an at-will employee may be discharged by the employer, or may leave the job, for any reason whatsoever, with or without notice.  In other words, unless you have a modified contract for a certain term of employment or which limits reasons for termination; your employment is at will by your employer. A few exceptions to this rule are: if your employer fires you for discriminatory reasons, in violation of an employment contract, or in retaliation for exercising your rights, for example, you may have a legal claim against your employer for wrongful termination. A few states have embraced exceptions to the employment at will doctrine, usually by the court decision. However, the courts have determined the approach needs review under cutting edge circumstances embracing some or all of three major exceptions public policy, implied contract and covenant of good faith and fair dealing. Florida courts have avoided to embrace one or more of those exceptions. Florida courts dependably hold that if there is no clear term of employment, it is at will. In the state of Florida, an......

Words: 923 - Pages: 4


...The leadership theory that fits with my personality as well as my current employment is that of transformational leadership. “Transformational leadership transforms employees to pursue organizational goals over self-interests…Transformational leaders encourage their people to do exceptional things (Kinicki, A & Williams, B.K p. 461).” Currently, I work for the flagship hospital of the Adventist Health West medical system in Glendale, California as a supervisor of the respiratory department. In reading through the chapter, it was the description of transformational leadership that struck a chord with me, in that it was about bringing out the best in people, being adaptable, developing trust, working for an adaptive and flexible organization as well as developing loyalty among the employees (p. 461). All of these describe not just my personality, but in my mind what it takes to be successful within the hospital setting. Within my department I oversee a staff of nearly fifty employees that rotate through around eight to twelve per night shift depending on how busy the hospital is. It is because of the rotating staff that it is important that I be consistent in approach to leading, trust can easily be gained or lost through consistency. Kinicki and Williams describe the four key behaviors of a transformational leader, inspirational, idealized influence, individualized consideration and intellectual stimulation (p. 464). Examining these four keys, I feel that this is......

Words: 292 - Pages: 2

Employment at Will

...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. “The employment-at-will doctrine avows that, when an employee does not have a written employment contract and the term of employment is of indefinite duration, the employer can terminate the employee for good cause, bad cause, or no cause” (Muhl, 2012). Jennifer does not meet the requirements and skills she requires to perform the tasks for her job. This would presume that she lied on her application and interviewing process. The firm hired her based on those qualifications and now that she is unable to perform her task, she is no longer an asset to the company. For this reason, she should univocally be laid off from the company with no chance of being re-hired. The employment-at-will doctrine states that an employee is hired based on his/her will and may choose to leave at anytime post-employment. The same applies to the employers in the sense that they can fire her for good cause, bad cause or no cause. The employer does not hold any legal liability as long as no contract was signed upon employment. Out of the 3 exceptions of the will, only one applies in Virginia which is public policy. This exception states that an employer may not terminate the employee if public policy supports the employee. In this case where Jennifer is not......

Words: 1472 - Pages: 6

At Will Employment

...AT-WILL-EMPLOYMENT Written By: Karla McCleskey Submitted to : G. Alexander Weimer, Jr LEG 500 January, 23, 2011 1 In the United States employees without a written employment contract can be fired “for a good reason, a bad reason, or no reason at all”. This topic alone has been around since the nineteenth century, and has given employers unfettered power to dismiss their employees without being thereby guilty of a legal wrong. Many employees believe that great job performance will allow them to have job security, but the expectation that you could not get fired because of doing a “great job” has lost value and many of those “great” employees have found themselves laid off, and terminated without cause. Many ethical issues may arise when discussing employment at will, because if an employer fires an employer for no cause at all, critics will soon follow the employers behavior. There could also be many problems that come with employment-at-will, like the legal precedent, backlash of potential employees, and resentment from current employees. The book explains that the earliest adjustment to the right to work doctrine were made when workers fought for the right to organize and form labor unions. In 1935 the Supreme Court guaranteed these rights, and announced that employers could not intimidate their employees with the at-will-employment doctrine. Beginning in the 1960s, federal civil rights laws were created against those......

Words: 1163 - Pages: 5