Employment Law-Wrongful Dismissal
Sandy Baratta (former Oracle Vice President for Global Alliance) vs Oracle (software and Hardware Company).2000-San Fransisco. Sandy Baratta claimed to have been fired for her pregnancy and whistle blowing against co-workers. The pregnancy termination claim was based on some deprecating comments made to her by the Oracle Vice President about pregnant executives. Sandy claims she was fired just after she had made a report about Oracle software group lifting some parts of SAP from competitor projects to get ahead. The case ended with Sandy winning the law suit against her firm and she was compensated by $300 000 which represented her lost wages, 2 000 000 dollars worth of stock options which was part of her compensation and $200 000 in damages for emotional distress as according to the American employment law which is similar to the Canadian Employment Standards Act,2000, C41, part XV (termination and severance of employment notices) and part 10, section 83.1. The case above is just an example of how unscrupulous corporate people can be and if one is neither careful no clever, they may suffer unnecessary losses of work and income which they could otherwise have avoided. Unfortunately most people in lower class jobs have no idea how the law can work to their advantage and instead just give up their right to cunning employers. Most of these fall within the spectrum of foreign workers in low class jobs, illegal immigrant workers, uneducated employees and minors employed in jobs such as babysitting. Perhaps more awareness is necessary to workers and they should probably be a mechanism in place which forces employers to explain wrongful dismissal to potential employees before they are hired or workshops that make employees aware of their rights as employees via trade unions and government funded programs. In Canada wrongful termination of employment or wrongful dismissal refers to when an employer’s reasons for dismissing an employee are unjust such as in the case of Sandy Vs the Oracle above or when an employer fails to give the employee reasonable notice of termination as stated in the employments standards act. An employer’s unjust reasons could include discrimination, retaliation, refusal to commit illegal act and not following correct termination procedures among other things. When an employee is unjustly let go at work there is no law in Canada which enforces reinstatement even if the employee can prove unjust causes. An issue related to wrongful termination of employment would be constructive dismissal. This refers to a situation where the employer exhibits an attitude so negative towards the employee that the employee is forced to resign. With the resignation not being in actual fact voluntary, this is just but accurately speaking a form of termination in a way and is considered as that by the law. Another rather important matter to note when discussing terms and conditions of employment law is the “At will clause”. This is important because it in my opinion is what brings about the grey area between wrongful dismissals and just dismissal. The At Will clause specifies that both the employees and their employer can terminate an employment relationship at anytime, for any reason, but only if the employment relationship is not bound by a formal written contract and the understood duration is indefinite. This clause works better to the advantage of the employee because at least it does not attract wrongful dismissal law suits. However other laws supercede the At Will clause so when arguing for the employee then arguments would be made stronger if they are based on employment decisions based on colour, race, sex, disability, age discrimination, nation of origin as well as occupational safety and the health act. Employment law arguably falls short of usefulness to a certain degree though very small in the following three circumstances: a) Constructive dismissal
b) At will cause
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