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June 10, 2014

Employment At Will Doctrine

Scenario 1
Many issues could be discussed here. First of all, it is the employer’s duty to check whether the employee or the candidate is suitable for the job. In this case, the employer would have made sure that the candidate is capable enough to do the job that is required of her. She must have the proper qualification and experience which reflects that she is able to work on the computer and would prove to be a good, flexible employee.
According to the Council of Community Services of New York State (2000), employment at will doctrine states that an employer can terminate the employment of any employee for any reason. However, the employee can prove evidence that the termination was based on bias and not correct evidence. Therefore, in this case, there is ample evidence to terminate the employee.
The employer hired the employee on the term that she would know how to operate the computers. However, the employer also did his best to teach the employee. This was the duty of the employee as well. However, the employee was still unable to learn how to operate the computers and the software. Therefore, the employer has full right to terminate the employee as this is causing him losses.
The employer can also talk to the employee for the last time and also giver her deadline. The employer must make it clear to the employee that she is unable to learn whatever the employer wants her to learn. The employer must then give a deadline and say that we will train you and then if you don’t perform, then we would terminate you. This is fair.
Moreover, action could be taken against backbiting as well. The employee is badmouthing about the employer for things that the employer did not do. The employee is not poised to correct her mistakes and thus she will keep on providing her services thinking that she knows everything and that the employer is biased against her.
Scenario 2
According to Health and Safety Executive (2013), people must be appointed, trained, and should also be provided with the necessary facilities to properly work in. However, this is the employer’s duty to make sure the employees are following the laws and they are kept under check. It is also the employer’s responsibility to identify weaknesses in employees, for example anger, that would negatively affect the workings of other employees and that would eventually result in termination if the employee who shows inappropriate behavior.
Same applies over here. The employee gets very angry. This can cause threat to culture of company and to other employees. Moreover, the efficiency of the employee would also suffer if she is constantly under pressure and angry. It should also be noted that the employee comes late to work. This is not acceptable at any costs. It is straight violation of company policy.
If the employer criticizes her for her actions, she does not listen as well and gets angry. There could be no progress until and unless the employee accepts her mistakes and admits that she was wrong. The employer has done everything possible to stop and make the employee understand.
There are some options available though. The employer can again give warning to the employee and say that if you come late again then you will be fired. The employer must also provide evidence that she comes late. The employee states that she knows about employment at will which stops employers from wrong termination of employees. In this case that is not applicable as the employer has a strong reason to terminate the employee. The employee comes late. Furthermore the employee does not listen to the positive criticism by the employer. Again, the employee is at fault. Thus, according to the employment at will doctrine, the employer can terminate the employee after providing the evidence that is gathered against her. The evidence would include a case on her behavior which is unacceptable as she comes late and does not consider changing her lax behavior.
Scenario 3
This is a again a critical issue at hand. It can again be concluded that the employee is at wrong here. The laws of employment-at-will doctrine are applied here as well. The exception of Public-policy is in effect. According to Muhl (2001), there are three exceptions to employment at will doctrine. The exception of public policy states that an employee cannot be terminated if the firing is directly against the public policies of the state.
In the case, it is explicitly stated that accountants are not allowed to make labor unions. This is state as well as company policy. Moreover, it was the policy of the company that any employee would need to get the approval of the management before hand if he/she wants to take a leave. What further aggravates the situation is that she takes a leave in tax season, without even informing the management. This should be penalized and is punishable according to the public-policy exception of employment-at-will. It does not fall in that category and the employee can be fired.
The remedy available to the employer is to fire the employee. This must be considered in the end as the firing would make the employer search for new employee. This would consume time and might result in more losses for the company. However, it is legal as the leave of the employee was not allowed, as it was mentioned in the company policy that they cannot take leave without approval of management.
Moreover, the manager can claim damages as the employee went against the company policy. Whatever losses were incurred by the by company because of her could be claimed by the employer. Warning can also be issued but that would be lax as the damage was done to the company efficiency.
Moreover, she is also not promoting a safe workplace for the workers. She keeps on motivating the accountants to form labor unions. However, the laws state that accountants cannot make labor unions but she still keeps on talking about forming unions in the cafeteria. This is again an offense as she is motivating the employees to go against the firm. Action can be taken against this incident as well by warning before taking any severe action.
Scenario 4
            This case comes under the laws of sexual harassment and dating co-workers. According to Sutherland (2010), there are some policies regarding dating co-workers. Firms also protect employees when they enter into relationships for the benefit of the employees as well as for the benefit of the firm. The laws state that when a relationship has ended and still one partner pursues the other partner inside the workplace in order to patch things up, the employee that pursues the patching up would be found guilty and action could be taken against this person. Perhaps the most prominent law in our case is that when a boss dates a subordinate, it is extremely difficult to conclude that the relationship was on a consensual basis. The relationship could be to take benefit of the boss. Thirdly, another law states that inside the workplace, one must refrain from indulging in intimate physical contact with their partners. This is to stop other coworkers from starting incidents of sexual harassment.
            In light of the laws provided above, it can be concluded that in the first place there was no consensual relationship between the two. The boss approached the subordinate but the subordinate refused the offer of dating. However, later when the subordinate consulted his wife regarding the offer, the wife told her husband to pursue the relationship. Later the employee and the employer enter into a consensual relationship.
            However, it can be implied that the relationship was not consensual as the offer was rejected in the first place and the employee accepted the offer after his wife told him to do so. Policies regarding dating inside the workplace were also issued but the dating continues.
            In this case, according to McCall (2012), there are many remedies available to the manager. The manager can talk to the couple and advise them on the legal risks involved in pursuing such a relationship. Moreover, the person who intends to advise the couple should not do so very explicitly. The couple must be approached politely and told about the consequences. Finally, proper dating rules could also be made for an organization that restricts the couples to act unethically and to damage the environment of the organization in any way.
            These were the options available to the person who seeks to advise the couple. It must also be noted that the relationship is between the boss and the subordinate. Therefore, the boss might get angry if approached openly regarding something intimate and personal. A casual and polite approach is needed in this case. Or, if the company is not suffering due to the relationship, then the relationship can be let to continue.

References
Council of Community Services of New York State. (2000). The New York State Employment At Will Doctrine. [pdf]. Accessed 15th April 2013. Available at http://www.nyscommunityaction.org/OtherContent/PersonnelPoliciesandRelationshipWithTheED/8_04_NYSEmploymentAtWillDoctrine.pdf
Health and Safety Executive. 2013. Health and Safety Made Simple. [pdf]. Accessed 15th April 2013. Available at http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg449.pdf
McCall, M. 2012. Workplace Romance and Liability Risks. Employment Practices updates, 10, (4). Accessed 15th April 2013. Available at http://www.vfis.com/documents/EPU12-10.pdf

Muhl, C.J. 2001. The employment at will doctrine : Three major exceptions. Monthly labor review, Jan. Accessed 15th April 2013. Available at http://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2001/01/art1full.pdf

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