Answer to Question One
The employment-at-will doctrine advocates termination of employment relationship by employee or employer at any time as long as the reason does not violate the law. This normally applies to employees working without any contract signed between them and employers, labor bodies, or any other similar bodies. In modern competitive world, employers strive to undertake extensive recruitment processes to get employees, who have desired skills, are competent, and are able to learn and deliver. Employers or managers know what they expect from employees and they always monitor them to ensure they perform as required. Without the necessary skills, employers try to educate or train employees in areas they are not good at but that are key to their jobs in order to deliver required results.
Without the required skills, competences, and abilities, Jennifer will be a stumbling block to the attainment of department’s goals. If she is unable to learn to operate even the simplest computer applications, she will not perform and deliver the required results and would drag the department down. While she claims that she is a genius, she cannot perform. As a manager who aims at attaining the objectives of the department and the overall company, I would not continue to work with her. I would call her in my office, explain to her the weaknesses she has, and since we operate in an employment-at-will doctrine, terminate her employment. If she is not the only employee in my department, I will give her examples of other employees that I have worked with and appreciated their work to respond to her claim that I do not appreciate her.
Answer to Question Two
Every organization, including the mentioned company, has its own policies that should not go against public policies. Before registering a company, registration bodies would ensure that the company obeys all laws and regulations and will not go against them. When preparing the company’s policy, the management ensured that no policy went against any public policy i.e. it established acceptable arrival and departure times and rules regarding behavior of employees towards their seniors. While the public policy exception to employment-at-will protects employees from being discharged from work for having refused to do an illegal act (Dannin, 2007), Jenifer’s case does not apply to the policy. She has not refused to perform illegal act, she only burst into rage and came to work late. In addition, the manager has not acted illegally. After realizing her behavior, he called her and attempted to address her behavioral issues while reminding her of company’s late policy but she did not listen.
As the manager, I would remind Jennifer of company’s late policy and respect to the management and give her some period to evaluate whether she can change and abide by the rules and policy or not. Moreover, I would remind her about public policy exception to employment-at-will and would inform her that her arguments do not bear any fruit. If she did not change her behavior, I would act in accordance with company’s policy. I would do what the policy directs to be done to employees who do not abide by it, which can range from giving warnings, suspension, or termination of employment.
Answer to Question Three
Taking a day off without management approval regardless of the reasons is prohibited and considered a violation of company’s rules and regulations. I think during Jennifer’s recruitment and orientation periods, she might have been told how the company operates, including information on when and how to take a day off and she probably signed to follow the rules and regulations of the company. Coming up with her own rules of taking a day-off without management’s approval implies that she has no respect for the management rules and regulations of the company. To make matters worse, the management has requested employees not to take the day off without their approval since it was a very busy day. However, she went on and disobeyed. In this case, I would call her in my office to remind her about company’s rules and regulations and the need to obey them. However, if she refused to obey them, I would fire her instantly.
Jennifer’s decision to talk with fellow employees during lunch breaks to form an accounting union to protect them is good, but talking during regular work hours is not professional. Employees have the obligation to work and achieve their targets during work hours. Anybody going against this by interrupting their normal working processes should be punished. The punishment can include demotion, suspension, or termination. While the law prohibits termination of employees’ employment based on involvement in union activities (Muir, 2003), Jennifer and the company of employees are non-union members, and the steps Jennifer takes to form a union are against company’s practices. This is because it involves discussions during work hours. I would advise and assist Jenifer and other accountants on the best actions to take in order to form a union and probably become a member of the union.
Answer to Question Four
Employment handbooks contain guidelines and disclaimers on ways in which employees should behave in the company. They are not, however, contracts and do not limit the way in which employees should behave in the company (DeGiuseppe, 1981). Since it is not a contract, the employment-at-will doctrine applies, and as a manager I can terminate employment of the employee, employer, and employee’s girlfriend any time that I feel that their behavior is not professional. While the handbook does not limit employees’ behavior, it does not also limit my decisions regarding the case.
The employee has a right to refuse to go to dates with the supervisor as has a freedom of movement and making decisions. The supervisor was using his position to take advantage of the employee but could not take actions against her when she refused. However, the supervisor could have made the life of the lady miserable when she totally refused. To save her job and having followed the advice of her girlfriend, she gave in and agreed to date the supervisor. Following a fair judgment, I would fire or transfer the supervisor and employee’s girlfriend and leave the employee because she was pushed in the act and accepted the offer to protect her job.
As a manager, I would not be comfortable to work with employees whose behaviors are not pleasing me. I would call them in a quiet place and talk to them about my discomfort with their behavior. I would also advise them to stop it or they risk losing their jobs. If they do not change, I would have no option but to transfer them to separate places or terminate their employment.
Generally, to deal with the whole issue of employment-at-will, I would spearhead education of all employees regarding the employment-at-will doctrine, including exceptions such as express employment agreement for a definite term, employment handbooks, public policy exception, no private whistleblower cause of action, and national labor relations exception. This would be done to ensure they understand them and take actions or make decisions that do not violate the doctrine. This would help employees like Jennifer take actions or behave in a manner that would be in line with the law and the employment-at-will doctrine.