Elaine has been fired from her employment at will employer. Jerry fired her and gave her no reason for her termination. Elaine was promised good career opportunities and given an annual salary of $30,000. Kramer, who was less qualified for the position, replaced her. Elaine has sued Jerry to get her job back. ISSUE:
Is this a case for wrongful discharge or does Jerry have the right to fire Elaine? LAW/ANALYSIS:
To begin, Elaine is an at-will employee. This means that she does not have an employment contract with Jerry and can be terminated at any time for any reason (Cheeseman, 2007, pg. 415). Jerry did not give a reason for firing her, so it could be concluded that she was wrongfully discharged, hence why she is suing (pg. 415).
There are exceptions that exist where employers cannot dismiss at-will employees. Only two of the four exceptions would apply here. The first is the Statutory exception, where Elaine cannot be terminated from sex discrimination (pg. 416). This is in accordance to the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which eliminates job discrimination due to “race, color, national origin, sex, and religion” (pg. 428). No prior information is given in this case, but she was replaced with a man (even a man who is lesser qualified) so this could in fact be the reasoning. The other could be the Tort exception, where an employee can sue an employer for “fraud, intentional infliction of emotional distress, or defamation of character (pg. 416). Jerry could have been trying to hurt her emotionally or defame her by hiring a lesser-qualified worker.
Given the circumstance, the court would probably see in favor of Elaine, but more information must be given. Prior information must be given, such as the relationship between Elaine and Jerry. Any sort of tension could show that Jerry was either sexist toward Elaine or dislikes her and wants to defame her or hurt her feelings. From this, it can either