Ethical Issues with Termination
At-will employment means that the employee or employer has the right "to end the employment relationship at any time with or without notice or cause." (FedEx Office: AllBusiness, 1999-2009) Involuntary termination is a touchy subject for employers and it can happen for numerous reasons: specific cause, such as stealing, poor performance, and layoffs due to lack of work. Even though most companies have an "at-will" relationship with their employees, it is still arguably illegal to terminate an employee for no reason. When it comes to termination, managers are faced with current moral and ethical issues. In a lot of companies, in addition to professional relationships, managers develop personal relationships with their employees. In most cases, employees spend a majority of their week (40+ hours) with their "work family." Co-workers learn about each other's families, extra-curricular activities, and personal problems. Even if managers try to separate themselves from their employees on a personal level, it is difficult to ignore new school pictures being displayed on their desks or avoid a discussion about a recent weekend vacation. When legitimate problems arise in a company which requires involuntary termination, the manager faces a dilemma. They must fire an employee because it is best for the company and ignore the thoughts of how it will affect their family and personal life. Often times, employees take the involuntary termination harder because they feel betrayed by someone they considered their "friend". When an employee is terminated, in more cases than not, they feel blind-sided; most of them "never saw it coming". It is essential that employers set and follow standard documentation procedures that will provide a timeline of disciplinary action and performance reviews that will serve as proof of legitimate termination if necessary. A disgruntled employee may question the validity of their termination and in...
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