Employment-At-Will Doctrine

The employment–at-will doctrine refers to a postulated type of legal implication in the labor sector that allows employers to terminate there respective employees out of good cause, bad cause or no cause at all provided that during the inception of the employment agreement there were no written contracts as well as definite duration of the employment as whole (Muhl, 2001).

 In the first case scenario, Jennifer is unable to learn the computer applications which are a basic necessity in her line of duty. The first step for the management to undertake is to allow her more time to learn the application. This is because the case stipulates that she was allowed only a few months to learn. By a few more months does not necessarily mean more than the firm can accommodate, it means a period of time through which it can vehemently allow without affecting its daily operations. This step is postulated in the opportunities for rectification of the employee’s conduct at work. Upon the completion of the awarded time, the management of the firm is definitely placed at a better position for which to terminate the employment out of” just cause”.  It should be noted that by allowing Jennifer more time to learn the skill, the management is in itself acting in good faith and thus for matters pertaining to legal affairs, it will be placed at a better position to justify its cause since there is an exception that may prohibit employers from terminating work as there was an implied contract at the very first inception of the employment contract as a whole. In order to reduce the risk of liability, the management is advised to include statements which postulates that there policies are never in any way bound by implied contracts and thus the employee will not in any way be assured of his or her job security whatsoever. Without the inclusion of this clause, the management is placing itself at a vulnerable point for which it can face legal implications such as being sued by the affected employee.

  In the second scenario upon which the employee becomes questionable in her behaviors, the management should take time before deciding on whether to fire her. For instance, it should offer her an opportunity for rectifying her behavior or reprimand her as required by part of the firm’s policies and regulations. In case the employee fails to heed to the companies policy then the firm is in a better position to lay her off. By the provision of a second chance the company is shielding itself from the exception which stipulates the wrongful termination of the employment which was at the very first instance determined by implied contract. Implied contracts bind the employer from terminating the employment of the employee since there was a written consent which formed the part of the employment agreement as a whole. In order to avoid legal obligations as well as unnecessary liabilities, the firm is expected to include a clause which stipulates that it will only terminate the employment of a rude employee for a “just cause”. It is also wise for the firm to include a “for no cause at all” clause in its policy statements so that they are never bound by the termination it will make for the rude behavior of the employee. It is unfortunate that the firm can in no way prove the rudeness of the employee as a “cause” for the termination of employment thus, it will be wise  for it to rely more on the “ for no cause at all” clause(Muhl, 2001).

For the employee to cite the exception of public policy as a way of defending herself from facing termination then the firm should be made to comprehend the fact that the employee will be made to prove that the cause of action of the firm was in a way injurious to the public or public good as a whole but since this employee cannot prove this fact in the court of law then she is better off laid from her duties for good.  Firing the employee will be the last step in this case scenario.

 In the third case in which the employee decides to take a day off from work without the consent and approval of the management then she should be taken to have gone against the firm’s policies which prohibits unnecessary day-offs from employees. The first very step which the management is supposed to take is to ensure that the handbook of policies provides a statement which prohibits on the same. The company may decide to either reprimand her so that in the long run it deters other employees from conducting themselves in the same manner. The fact that the employee is gathering other workmates to form a union is a clear implication of the threat she is posing to the company as whole. The firm should therefore ensure that it has placed for a “bad cause” in its policy statement so that incase she manages to take legal action (after being fired), then the company will be at no legal obligation to take the liability of firing her altogether. The exception to this case scenario is the public policy which inhibits employees from terminating employment of there employees without caring for the injury it might cause to there livelihoods as a whole. The fact that the employee took the day off to attend to a religious function implies that she was conducting herself for a societal cause and it was in no way injurious on the part of the society but might affect the company’s reputation in the sense that it will be acting in a way which is injurious to the public policies which may translate to the infringement of the “freedom of religion”. In that case, then, the management is placed at very a vulnerable situation whereby it can take liabilities as a whole.

In the last scenario whereby the employee decides to undertake the activity which was initially stipulated in the handbook of policy, the company is entitled to either reprimand or provide her with an opportunity to rectify her behavior. In the case that she does not conform to the policies even after being awarded a second chance, then she is better laid off(fired) as the last step of taking care of this scenario altogether. In this particular case the company is under no legal obligation to accept liability on the same in the sense that it will have stipulated for a “just cause” on its policies as a way of avoiding the liability on termination of employment it may make (Muhl, 2001). There are basically no exceptions in this case since the firm’s rules and regulations should have been put forward for the employee and it is taken that she must have read the handbook before being oriented at work. Ignorance will not be a just defense on her part particularly in the courts of law.