Employment Termination

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Moral and Ethical Issues Involving Employment Terminations
University of Phoenix

Moral and Ethical Issues Involving Employment Terminations
When the decision is made to terminate an employee-employer relationship, the employer faces a far more daunting challenge than simply being able to terminate the employee, with or without due cause. Difficult steps must be taken to ensure that all precautions, legal and ethical, have been scrutinized and actuated prior to the final decision to terminate the relationship. Present ethical guidelines stipulate that employers, especially those involved in management, are responsible for ensuring that ethics for both the company and the employees are enforced in accordance with laws and regulations. Conflicting interests in the decision-making process of terminating employees must be avoided to justify terminations that reside within the fair constructs of the law. The purpose of this paper is to describe and identify social issues in relation to legal and ethical practices of employment terminations. Terminating Employee-Employer Relationships

Various factors exist when considering the justification for employment terminations. Employers can simply invoke their right to terminate employees based on the at-will employment doctrine. However, carefully examining the legal repercussions prior to capitalizing on at-will terminations is recommended. Another significant reason for terminations are behavioral-related offenses by employees, instigating due cause. AT-WILL TERMINATIONS

Most states within the United States of America have adopted the employment- and termination-at-will doctrine that came about around the late 1800s and early 1900s. It was later rendered by the California Supreme Court to be interpreted “Precisely as may the employee cease labor at his whim or pleasure, and whatever be his reason, good, bad, or indifferent, leave no one a legal right to complain; so, upon the other hand, may the employer discharge, and whatever be his reason, good, bad, or indifferent, no one has suffered a legal wrong” (USLegal.com, 2008). The at-will employment doctrine is based on the philosophy within the free-enterprise system and states that any employee-employer relationship can be severed without due cause by either party at any given time (Bogaert & Gross-Schaefer, 2005). TERMINATIONS BASED ON OFFENDING BEHAVIOR

Terminations rendered because of justifiable causes related to unsatisfactory behavior conducted by employees including, but not limited to, excessive absences, lack of performance, unqualified skills relative to job requirements, extreme negative attitude that seriously affects surrounding work environment and any misconduct by an employee that goes against any company and legal policies. These are but a few of the behavior-related issues that can result in the involuntary termination of an employee. A history of intolerable behavior with unsuccessful attempts to rectify said behavior provides employers the ethical responsibility and justification to terminate the offending employee. Social and Ethical Issues Faced by Managers

Changes in societal norms and concepts of proper management practices poses additional challenges as morals and ethics play major roles in determining fault when terminated employees appeal to the law for unjust cause of involuntary termination. At-will justifications for terminations are increasingly invalidated by the court system when further investigations determine that possible negligence and wrongdoing is tendered by employers who exploit the at-will employment doctrine. Substantial and documented cause for termination is not only recommended, but also not heeding that process increases the company’s legal liability when faced with the possibility of a formal, legal complaint by the aggrieved party. Other socially related ramifications external to that of the...
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