The decision to keep certain employees and to terminate some should not be taken for granted and done at the spur of a moment. Employers have used the Employment-At-Will clause in its contracts with employees so they are well informed that it can “dismiss their employees at will for good cause, for no cause, or even for cause morally wrong, without being thereby guilty of a legal & Inguinal, 2012, peg. 9). Even though this might give employers unrestricted power, they might want to consider given their employees rational reasons for their termination. To counter this, employees have a right to terminate their employment at the time of their choosing. Whatever the situation that take places, both employer and employee must present themselves in such a manner that is both ethical and socially responsible. Reasons for Termination Since the late sass’s, employers had unlimited ability to terminate their employees at will for virtually any reason.
It was not until employees wanted to self-organize that the doctrine started to change. According to the United States Supreme Court in NELL v. Jones & Laughlin Steep Corp.. (1937), every employee has the right to implement collective labor bargaining without retaliations from their employers. This credited a massive expansion of unions and worker rights groups which some still exist today. During the sass’s, the employment-at-will doctrine changed again because of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
This act prevented employers from terminating employees for certain basic rights and was expanded again in later years to include protection from being discharged base on their race, sex, religion, disabilities, national origin, and age. Another example of exemptions from this doctrine is the resent Serbians-Solely Act in 2002 extended an employee’s right to whistle blow against a company when that company is performing illegal acts pertaining to its finances and to its investors. Employees cannot be discharged for reporting those illegal actions.
The first scenario to illustrate the employment-at-will doctrine is whether an employer can terminate an employee who reports illegal actions being asked of the employee or that is noticed in daily operations. The Serbians-Solely Act prohibits public or private contractors from firing employees who inform law enforcement that they believe a federal securities law is being broken. The secretary that works in the department store should not be fired based on the fact that they refused to incriminate themselves for falsifying expense reports. In any case, the supervisor making up false reports should be terminated.
The second scenario deals with whether a worker can be fired because they have jury duty which is an exception to the employment-at-will doctrine. Va. Code (2005) states that any person who is summoned to serve on jury duty, shall neither be discharged from employment, nor have any diverse personnel action taken against him, nor shall he be required to use sick leave or vacation time, as a result of his absence from employment due to such jury duty or court appearance. So if Anna’s boss fires her, she can then in turn sue him for wrongful termination. She might still get fired but she will at least be compensated.
The third scenario has to deal with whether a company can legally monitor an employee?s email when using company property. According to McAllen v. Microsoft Corp. (1999) an employee had no claim for invasion of privacy due to the employer’s review and distribution of the employee’s e-mail. A company should have total control of its assets including computer use as long as the employees know the companies computer access policy. It would also be more ethical for the employer to give Bill some sort of notice first to get him to stop using the phone for personal use. VA.
Employment-At-Will Virginians rule on employment-at-will is basically the same as most states. Employers have the right to terminate employees at any time, with or without cause, and with or without advance notice. Also besides the normal Federal exceptions like discriminating because of race or age, Virginia also has three mineral exceptions to the employee at will doctrine which is discharging an employee for refusing to comment an illegal act, for firing an employee for implement a Statutory created right and finally being discharged for a reason contrary to a public law.
Inn recent court case in Virginia Supreme Court, the court had to decide a wrongful discharge violation of established public policy against an individual who was not the plaintiffs actual employer. The case Venture v. VIRGINIA HIGHLANDS ORTHOPEDIC SPINE (2010), Angela Venture claimed the defendant Dry. Grub, who was the owner and also her oppressor, sexually harassed her throughout her employment. The case also involved whether she could sue him even though he was not the actual employer but he participated in the wrongful firing of Avenue.
The district court decided that Venture could not sue Dry. Grub directly as her supervisor only the employer. She decided to take her argument to the Fourth Circuit Court to determine if an employee could sue a supervisor who was the actor in violation of public policy and was the catalyst to her being terminated. First the court determined that Virginia Highlands violated public policy and wrongfully discharged her when she refused to participate in illegal acts of adultery and lewd and lascivious cohabitation. So she won her case when it came to the employer.
The court had to then decide the other factor of the case pertaining to whether see could sue the individual who discharged her. After citing two other cases in Virginia and many other cases from nearby states, the Court decided that Venture could bring a wrongful discharge case against her supervisor. The courts determine he was responsible for his personal actions that violated the relevant public policy. In summary, the employment-at-will doctrine is specifically designed to allow employers and employees to exercise their right to terminate the employment relationship on their terms.
It also addresses that there are some exceptions to this rule when it comes to public policy. Most of these exceptions come from federal law and few that are address under Virginia code have put more restrictions on the right for an employer to discharge their employees but for all the right reasons. In the future more exceptions might come up but whatever happens it will always be in the best interest of he employer and employee to work out their differences or problems before the discharge process even begins.