Employment - At Will Doctrine

Topics: Employment, Contract, Whistleblower Pages: 12 (2035 words) Published: September 5, 2014

Law and Ethics in the Business Environment
Terry Halbert | Elaine Inguli
Strayer University

Employment –At – Will Doctrine

Alicia Marie Bing
Law, Ethics & Corporate Governance – LEG 500
Dr. Demetrius Abraham
26 January 2014


Title Pagei
Certification of Authorshipii
II.Summarization: Employment-At-Will Doctrine6
II a.Allowable Exceptions to Legally Fire6
II b.Decision and Reasoning to Limit Liability and Impact Operations7 III.Position Recommendation; Pros and Cons of Whistle blower Policy 9 IV.Fundamentals and Rationale of a Whistle Blower Policy10



In legal terms, during the later portion of the nineteenth century, “at will” termination, whether initiated by employer or employee, came into focus in the United States. Simply because a person desires to disassociate oneself with the business, whatever it is, for whatever reason, whenever one chooses, is fine and acceptable. This doctrine exists because it is presumed to exhibit and respect freedom from contract. It applies to the all of “U.S” except the state of Montana primarily because of the belief that employee and employer prefers employment relationship to be “At Will” instead of job security (NCSL, 2014). “In the following pages I offer nothing more than simple facts, plain arguments and common sense; and have no other preliminaries to settle with the reader, other than that he will divest himself of prejudice and prepossession, and suffer his reason and his feelings to determine for themselves; that he will put on, or rather that he will not put off, the true character of a man, and generously enlarge his views beyond the present day—Thomas Paine, Common Sense” (Paine, 1779), (Grote, 1995). In other words we can debate claims and notions that employment-at-will is all about exacting a contract of freedom and respect, but, wholeheartedly agree, truthfully, that the optimistic picture of equality and freedom is tainted by the continuing subordination and discrimination imposed primarily by employers.

Summarization: Employment – At – Will Doctrine
The employment-at-will doctrine avows that, when an employee does not have a written employment contract and the term of employment is of indefinite duration, the employer can terminate the employee for good cause, bad cause, or no cause at all (Muhl, 2001). The genesis of this ill-fated relationship began to taking shape when employees started to unionize work efforts and initiatives, albeit for a good cause; employees were at the mercy of employer discretion. The 1960s gave employees a voice to dispel wrongful actions perpetrated against them, whether it was wrongful discharge based on race, religion, sex, age, and national origin, certain Federal legislative protections, and Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act was available to defend.(Muhl, 2001).

Allowable Exceptions to Legally Fire. “The recognition of employment as being central to a person’s livelihood and well-being, coupled with the fear of being unable to protect a person’s livelihood from unjust termination, led to the development of common-law, or judicial, exceptions to the employment-at-will doctrine beginning in the late 1950s.” (Muhl, 2001) Much of what was contained in the original employment-at-will doctrine developed exceptions that did not fully materialize until the 1980s. However, have since become subject to erosive statutory and common-law protections all levied against wrongful discharge actions taken by an employer. In certain instances, the “at-will” dismissal of an employee by his or her employer is halted.

There are three established exceptions widely upheld. The first of these is public-policy exception, under which, wrongful discharge is factual...

References: Halbert, T. & Ingulli, E., (2012). Law and Ethics in the Business Environment (7th ed.).
Doi: www.cengage.com
Friedman, M. (1970, September 13). The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits. New York Times,

Retrieved from http://www.whistleblower.org/blog/42-2012/2012 25 January 2014
Deloitte (2012)
Grote, R. C. (1995). Discipline without Punishment. AMACOM, American Management Association, New York, NY. ISBN 0-8144-0276-3
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