The essay is an in depth examination of the concept of at will employment. This is done after going through a case study in which Dan was hired by Briarhill Memorial Hospital to work in the claims department. He later realized that there were cases of illegal billing issues relating to Medicare. Telling his boss of the same he was fired. His quest to know why he was fired, he was told that he was employed under the doctrine of At Will employment.
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By definition, At-will employment is engraved under the American law and defines a relationship in terms of employment between the employer and the employee that is characterized by either of the two ending such a relationship with no liability only if there is nothing in place that show a contract that defined the relationship. Additionally, the two can end the relationship provided that the employer is not linked or a member of a collective bargaining group. The doctrine holds that "any hiring is presumed to be "at will"; that is, the employer is free to discharge individuals "for good cause, or bad cause, or no cause at all," and the employee is equally free to quit, strike, or otherwise cease work" (Lipsig & Dollarhide, 1996).
Historically, the association between employers and employees was seen to be on equall grounds on the basis of bargaining power. The doctrine thus shows and fosters the opinion that Americans should be free to engage into employment contract for a specific duration. Without such a contract employees could resign at any time especially if the position they held are no longer of value to them.
According to Muhl, 2001) despite the fact that it the doctrine can be seen to be very harsh to employees, it is believed that it is what has made the economy of United States of America. The doctrine enables businesses to within a shorter time to employ, acquiring desired knowledge and at the same time terminate the services of employees that do not add value to the organization.
Exceptions of the doctrine.
Despite the fact that the relationship between employers and employees can be terminated without giving reason provided there is no expression of a contract, there are three main exceptions of the doctrine. These include; implied-contract exceptions, covenant-of-good faith exception and public policy exception.
Based on the public policy exceptions, employers are not to fire employees on the basis that the action would not violate states public policy doctrine. This means that employeers actions to fire an employee in retaliating against a worker in performing his/her duties in line with the existing public policy. This means that actions for instance making the relevant authorities of illegal activities contrary to the existing federal or state provisions and not accepting to execute an illegal activity. All other states except Maine, New York, Florida, Louisiana, Nebraska, Alabama, Georgia do have the exception.
Under the implied contract exceptions, the relationship cannot be terminated "when an implied contract is formed between an employer and employee, even though no express, written instrument regarding the employment relationship exists." (Muhl, 2001). This exception is mainly found in the employer's handbook or policies that might state that a worker will only be fired for other reasons except bad faith. When the fired individual proves in the court of law that indeed the employer violated this exception, then he will be held responsible for breaching such a contract. It is only thirty seven states that have exception.
On the basis of covenant-of-good-faith exception, each and every employment relationship is screened regarding good faith and fairness. The interpretation accorded to this is that an employer is not allowed to fire a worker by bad faith or driven by malice. It is just cause that guide this exception (Muhl, 2001).
Last exception is statutory. The United States of America do have in place several provisions aimed at safeguarding the interest and rights of employees from wrongful firing. The provisions are enshrined in Equal opportunity Employment act which prohibits firing or refusing to employ an individual on discriminatory base due to hi/her age, sex, color, physical disabilities, nationality, religion, sex orientation. Other circumstances that an employer is not supposed to fire a worker is when the later has refused to execute an illegal activity, has taken family or medical leave and when such an employer did not follow his/her own procedures to fire an employee (Lipsig & Dollarhide, 1996).
Being the director of the Human Resource Department, two main issues will be of concern to me. One of them is whether Dan's supervisor did indeed follow the handbook procedure on terminating the services of the employee. Additionally, to establish that indeed the action taken by the supervisor was not in bad faith, or aimed at retaliating against Dan's action to informing him of the illegal activities in reporting the billings. Secondly, another concern that I fore see is Dan taking the organization in court of law suing it of violation statutory provision that demands that all activities opt to be executed in line with federal or state provisions. Additionally, the termination might paint the organization a wrong picture in the eyes of the public and being in the wrong book of the government (Muhl, 2001).
In conclusion, the doctrine of At-Will employment which allows for termination of the relationship between employers and employees provided there is no expression in contact form does have exceptions too. These are implied-contract exceptions, covenant-of-good faith exception, public policy exception and exception in statutory. The main concern of the doctrine when executed by the employers is the legal battle especially if the fired individual can prove beyond any reasonable down in the court that indeed the termination was wrongful.
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