Employment At Will And Whistleblowing Essay

2220 words - 9 pages

As a recently hired Chief Operating Officer (COO) in a midsize company, multiple personal problems are quickly discovered that require immediate attention. As an astute manager, there is a need to analyze the employment-at-will doctrine and determine if there are any exceptions and liabilities before taking any action. In addition to the personal problems, it is discovered that the company has a no whistleblower policy. By the end of this paper, you will be able to review a summary of the employment at will doctrine, review scenarios of the personal problems of the company and determine if the employee could be legally fired, get an overview of ethical theories, identify whether or not the company should adopt a whistleblower policy, and review justifications of at least three (3) fundamental items that should be included in a whistleblower policy.

Employment-At- Will Summary
During recent years, the principle and practice of employment at will has been under attack. Employment-at-will has been a fixture in the United States employment law since the Industrial Revolution in the late 1800’s. In the simplest and earlier state, employment at will meant that an employee who worked for an indefinite period of time worked at the will of the employer. Absent a contractual provision to the contrary, either party could terminate the employment for any reason. At least 55% of all employees and managers in the private sector of the workforce in the United States today are “at-will” employees (Radin & Werhane, 2003). On the surface, employment at will appeared to be a neutral doctrine fiving both the employer and the employee a way out of an undesirable employment relationship. However, the doctrine in practice worked to the benefit of the employer, the entity usually having the power in the relationship. Over the past century, the doctrine of employment at will has steadily eroded by state and federal statutes and by judicial decisions creating exceptions to the doctrine for particular groups and in particular situations. Those statutes that have been passed at the federal and state levels include prohibiting discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, and disability. State and federal statues may also prohibit the discharge of employees for such things as serving on a jury, filing a workers’ compensation claim, engaging in collective bargaining or union activities, being on active duty in the military, or whistle-blowing in certain types of situations. Today, there are forty-three states that recognize a cause of action based on wrongful discharge of the public policy as an exception to the employment at will doctrine. The common law has evolved to create exceptions to the employment at will doctrine. There are two main approaches: 1) to imply a promise of “good faith and fair dealing” in the contract of employment, or (2) to imply contractual terms (not to dismiss except for good cause, for instance) from an employer’s...

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