Employment-at-Will Doctrine


Employment-at-Will Doctrine




Employment-at-Will Doctrine

In any organization, it is prudent for the managers to understand the terms of employment in order to provide positive leadership and proper management of the employees. Employer-employee relationship matters a lot in the operation of an institution. This discussion therefore deliberates on the concept of employment at will doctrine. It further evaluates various scenarios in the case relating to this doctrine among other aspects relating to whistle blowing.

This employment doctrine has for quite some time remained a fixture in the U.S. employment law since the industrial revolution to the late 1800s (Zachary, 2012). Employment at will means that employees work for indefinite period at will of the employer.  The employment lacks contractual provisions as the employee or employer can terminate the job at any particular moment for any reason (Katherine, 2007). Even though this seems to be a neutral doctrine that gives both the employer and employee a way out for any undesirable employment relationship, it most favored the employers as employees could be terminated for a good cause, bad cause or no cause (Katherine, 2007). The employers use their arbitrary powers to terminate employees for any bad cause or no cause.

Because of this mismatch and unfairness, the legal climate for employees has continued to change as some of this kind of employment type  is being eroded. Various laws/statutes have been passed at both the federal and state levels that limit the ability of any employer to terminate employment of an employee for reasons that the statute covers (Katherine, 2007). Some of the modifications that have happened to the employment at will doctrine pertain to statutes that prohibit or hinder discrimination based on color, race, religion, sex, nationality, disability, and age among other different forms of discrimination.

Some of the changes in the nature of employment that have taken shape in the U.S. since the 1980s and 1990s include development of unjust dismissal protection , legislatively  imposed terms, employer imposed terms such as  arbitration clauses and  post employment restrictive covenants, and lastly the new psychological contract and the recasualisation of work (Katherine, 2007). These changes aim at creating positive employment relationships between employers and the employees. Even though the changes have already been accepted in some part of the country, other states have not yet passed the laws and therefore further investigation and reviews are underway to determine their suitability.

As the incoming chief of operations, it is my duty to analyze the various problems that face the organization and come up with amicable solutions. In the first scenario where  a post was posted on facebook by John criticizing  the most important customers of the company, he is required to be fired for this behavior. This is indiscipline case and John’s action is a threat to the survival of the business. Therefore, the best way is to terminate his employment because he is violating the company rules. In case of a problem, it is wise for him to forward it to the management for an action and not for him to go ahead to insight customers. Under  this kind of employment arrangement, as the CEO, I am at liberty to fire him. To limit liability is to fire him and apologize to the customers.  This is ethics because it shows commitment and respect to the customers.

In the second case, the situation will be closely monitored before a conclusion of firing is reached. Firing will help to limit liability, as it will not lead to the boycott that would have otherwise impacted on the operations.

In the third scenario, she can legally be fired. Employment to will doctrine gives the employer liberty to terminate the job of an employee with a cause. The cause of this termination is the indiscipline of Ellen by terming the directors as people who know nothing. This will help to limit liabilities and deter the negative perceptions of the directors from the perspective of employees.

In the fourth scenario , he is also supposed to be fired. It is required that any employee uses the company properties and assets to advance the business of the company not their own. Therefore, Bill contravened the laws and should be punished. This is aimed at ensuring that liabilities of the company are limited. The theory that best suits this decision is the right theory.  Bill did not act in the right manner (Halbert & Ingulli, 2012).

In the fifth scenario the employees can be fired. They should launch their complaints in accordance to the laws and rules imposed by the company because they are meant to ensure that they improve in their service delivery and reduce liabilities.

In sixth scenario, Legal firing can be instituted. If the company had set up laws that require that employees do not use the company computer for their own use, he is supposed to be fired. The disciplinary measure is right and aims at ensuring that Joe remains disciplined at work place. In the seventh scenario, she should not be fired. This is because she is performing her duties well as required by the company. She is advancing the vision of the employer hence does not need to be fired.  In the eighth scenario, it is  legally correct to fire her.  The employer is required to give permission and leave to her employees and in his case, Ann failed to respect the decision of the boss hence was required to be fired. Most of these scenarios concerns ethical theories relating to right and virtues. The employees failed to take the right decisions or actions.

Because of the various challenges in the company, the CEO should adopt a whistle blower policy. This policy is very important in helping the CEO identify those people that go against the rules and regulations hence helping to maintain the situation.  The threemodt important things that need to be included in the whistle blowing policy include appropriate legislations that endeavor to protect the whistleblowers, need to be professionalisms and need to do some groundwork. Groundwork requires that the organization adopt a proactive management approach that ensures that internal systems are appropriate to allow disclosures without fear of reprisals. Professionals should also be adopted to ensure that the organization functions well.  Whistle blowers should be protected by the organization adequately to help it point out areas of weaknesses (Jian, Pany & Reckers, 2013).  Ongoing reviews of the success an effectiveness of the internal whistle blowing systems is also required to be in the policy as well as ongoing training of staffs that handle these disclosures.

In conclusion, employment to will doctrine has been used in various entities. This doctrine however has undergone some modifications but still it favors employers. Whistle blowing is also important in an organization if utilized well. It helps to address some of the challenges in the company such as corruption among others, helping in effective management of an entity.




Halbert, T., & Ingulli, E. (2012). Law & ethics in the business environment (7th ed.). Mason,

OH: South-Western Cengage Learning.

Jian, Z., Pany, K., & Reckers, M. (2013). Under Which Conditions are Whistleblowing “Best       Practices” Best?, Auditing, 32(3):171-181.

Katherine, S. (2007). Revisiting the At-Will Employment Doctrine: Imposed Terms, Implied        Terms, and the Normative World of the Workplace,  Industrial Law Journal, 36(1): 84-      101.

Zachary, M. (2012). Employment at will and public policy, Supervision,73(11): 21-25