Employment-at-Will

Powerful Essays
Topics: Employment
Employment-at-will (EAW) is a principle that allows employees and employers to terminate the employment relationship with any reason or no reason in cases where no matters of union, legal statute, public policy or contract reign.1

Since its inception, EAW as a principle has allowed employers to terminations without remedy, even in cases against public policy.2 Modern developments to this principle have caused employers to work within common law to combat potential litigation by removing the representation of continued employment, and factoring the ease of future dismissal in hiring decisions.3 Companies have also “qualified their EAW prerogatives with restrictions… and developed grievance procedures… for employee complaint and redress.“4

People are coming to the conclusion that EAW as it has been practiced for years is no longer applicable to modern society. Although no collective agreement has been made in whole to adopt any changes, it is no doubt a pressing issue that will grow in relevance.

In the two articles that form the basis of this discussion, Richard Epstein defends at-will contracts on grounds of fairness and utility, while Patricia Werhane and Tara Radin defend due process on grounds of human rights and the blurring distinction between private and public spheres of modern society. In turn, I will be defending the claim that due process should have a role in all employment relationships by challenging the application of intrinsic fairness and effects upon utility. I conclude that government intervention should not be barred from employment relationships, and in fact is necessary to protect parties from an asymmetrical balance of power and reputational loss.

UTILITY
1. Conditional Relationships
Fairness, not unlike all other virtues, has an influence on our calculation of utility. As a guiding principle of individual liberty, “Fairness means treating people equitably, without bias or partiality.”5 By extension, Epstein asserts that the law

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