An Analysis of Employee Rights vs. Employer Rights

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An Analysis of Employee Rights vs. Employer Rights

BSAD 319 – Professional Ethics

4/29/2012

When comparing the granted rights of employees versus employers, it does not truly seem that either party has the advantage. These factors can often vary depending on state laws and regulations, and it appears when consulting these laws, that there are many loopholes due to the gray areas that accompany behavioral legal situations. There are many occurrences of foul play, stereotyping and opinionated biases that seem to have caused and shaped these existing laws. Very much like the medical field now, it seems that many employers have taken tedious extra precautions in order to avoid legislation with what may be disgruntled past employees. Difficult subjects like at will employment, the right to drug test employees, and even things like the employers right to monitor an employee’s company e-mail have dominated the legal playing field in the workplace sector. Where the true righteousness lies, however, is often very relative. One of the most popular topics in employee rights is the advent of at-will employment. This is an agreement style that is practiced in every U.S. state except for Montana, and is actually fairly particular to America. As stated by Glynn, Arnow-Richman and Sullivan, “Most countries throughout the world allow employers to dismiss employees only for cause. Some reasons given for our retention of the at-will presumption include respect for freedom of contract, employer deference, and the belief that both employers and employees favor an at-will employment relationship over job security.” (as cited in National Conference of State Legislatures, 2012). The at-will system is one of the many employee/employer rights that are believed to benefit both parties. The at-will law can be modified by a contractual agreement between the two parties, but generally a regular at-will agreement gives the employer the right to terminate any employee at any time for any legal reason, or no reason. Acting under the at-will law, this will safeguard the employer from any legal liability, unlike many foreign employers, who must state cause. For the employee, they reserve the right to leave any job at any time for any or no reason, with the same protection. When handled correctly, one can see the benefits for either party. For the employer, this gives them the ability to release an employee from their payroll when needed. This may sound unimportant, but terminating an employee in our modern working world can be difficult, due to the bureaucracy and legality that goes into such an action. It is no longer befitting of our times to release someone just for doing bad work. It used to be easier for an employer to control the hiring and firing of employees, until modern times when a focus on equality and fairness was imposed upon the working world. It has not been until recently that all races and sexes were granted the same workplace rights. Women and men's pay ratios are in fact still in question. However, this at-will agreement also gives the employer the right to change wages and benefits. It can make things difficult for an employee, in that they can be forced to meet the schedule needs of the business, and can be let go without warning. I believe that there were good intentions when creating the at-will system, and I see how the level of freedom allotted to the employee can be viewed positively, but after analyzing how the agreement works; I must say that this system benefits the employer more so than the employee. One could argue that if the employee disagrees with the at-will policies of the company, that they could refuse the job- but how is this a feasible answer when this act exists throughout the country? As a generation of people dependent on the sustaining income of a job, I do not feel that the ability to leave without giving a reason is a good tradeoff for the level of control given to the employer under the at-will...
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