EMPLOYEE AT WILL DOCTRINE

Document Type:Essay

Subject Area:Economics

Document 1

In Western and Atlanta Railroad versus Payne case, the Supreme Court stated that employees can be fired for bad cause, good cause or no cause. After the Tennessee court ruling in 1884, the employee at will doctrine gained relevance and was applied in many nations. As the doctrine gained recognition in the world, many challenges arose relating to the excess power given to employers as result of the doctrine. The doctrine seemed to care much about the employer and less about the employee. As result the employee was always subject and at the mercies of the employer. Employers have misconstrued the doctrine to imply they can hire and fire employees at will. As a result of the misconception, many employers have fired key employees in their organizations which lead to serious consequences in their organizations (Dau-Schmidt, Finkin & Covington, 2016). The at-will doctrine carries both pros and cons that call for a close observation to either acknowledge or refute the doctrine. Research on employment as a field indicate motivation to employees as key ingredient to an organization’s success (Contigiani, Hsu & Barankay, 2018). This paper examines the counterclaims and opposing view point to the claim in order to offer a concession and or refutations to the counter claims of the employee at will doctrine. The work environment as postulated by a number of scholars is key to the success of an organization. Work environment is not limited to the physical aspect, it includes the prevailing interaction mood between employee and the employer, as well as, among the employees.

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As one would argue, an environment needs to be governed if direction and common goal pursuing are to be realized. The employee at will doctrine in many ways help shape organizations environment for success. There are many arguments that have been raised by the proponents of the employee at will doctrine. For instance, the doctrine helps employees get better jobs (Contigiani, Hsu & Barankay, 2018). An employment market consisting of at will- offers allows employee to abandon their current employment to pursue an employment with better terms. The ability to move from one employment to the other also helps add to the employability of the employee due to vast experience gained from different work stations. In addition, the employee at will doctrine allow employers to promote employees based on merit. In a structured form of employment, major promotions at work places are based on seniority at work place.

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With such controlled environment of decision making, the employer cannot fire the employee at will and employee cannot set for another opportunity without complying with the contract terms (Hogler, 2016). The at-will contracts helps address this issue since the discretion to remain in an engagement is in the hands of the participants and a party that feels aggrieved can leave at will. On the other hand, the employee at will doctrine though plays a key role in facilitating the environment of employer and employee relationships, it comes with its own kind of demerits. The employment at will exception cases found the application of common law in limiting the discretion of employer to fire an employee proper. This points to the fact that taking the employee at will doctrine as wholly perfect is wrong.

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The vulnerability is as result of the inability by the employee to plan their finances since they are never sure when their employment will hold the following day. Employers in such kind of arrangements tend to be brutal and lack understanding. This kind of strained relations demotivates the employees in their work and they are forced to have a back-up plan on their finances hence experience a divided attention. This limits the maximum performance of the employee (John, Knyazeva & Knyazeva, 2015). Moreover, the doctrine limits work environment modification. For example, in New Jersey such policies as contained in employee’s handbook are regarded as implied contracts while in Pennsylvania they are considered as guidelines (John, Knyazeva & Knyazeva, 2015). The continued varied position on the at-will doctrine taken by various states point to the need of employer and the employee protection.

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It is suggested by scholars that most of employer-employee relationships are based on employee at will contracts in America (Hogler, 2016). This imply, most workers are at-will employees. The implication is, employees work for their employers each given day and the decision to abandon doing so is at the employee discretion. To influence such relevant aspects in ensuring maximum performance from the human arm of an organization, there is need for formality in employment contract engagement. This paper therefore opposes the employee at will doctrine as it appears informal with no legal basis of engagement. The lack of formality implies; lack of motivation to the employee and the employer, high level of job security issue to the employee and lack of trust and mutual understanding between employee and the employer. In conclusion, although the employee at will doctrine comes with a package of goodies such as; allowing employees to seek for better opportunities with ease, save employers and employees the hectic contract engagement process, helps address strike matters and create a foundation for merit-based promotion, it carries with it many demerits.

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The doctrine is associated with increasing unemployment, low levels of loyalty between employer and the employee, lack of universality and subjects the employee to his employer. Covington, R.  Legal protection for the individual employee. West Academic. Hogler, R. From Ludlow to Chattanooga and beyond: a century of employee representation plans and the future of the American labor movement.

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