Imagine you are a recently hired Chief Operating Officer (COO) in a midsize company preparing for an Initial Public Offering (IPO). You quickly discover multiple personnel problems that require your immediate attention.
- John posted a rant on his Facebook page in which he criticized the company’s most important customer.
- Ellen started a blog to protest the CEO’s bonus, noting that no one below director has gotten a raise in two (2) years and portraying her bosses as “know-nothings” and “out-of-touch”
- Bill has been using his company-issued BlackBerry to run his own business on the side.
- After being disciplined for criticizing a customer in an email (sent from his personal email account on a company computer), Joe threatens to sue the company for invasion of privacy.
- One of the department supervisors requests your approval to fire his secretary for insubordination. Since the secretary has always received glowing reviews, you call her into your office and determine that she has refused to prepare false expense reports for her boss.
- Anna’s boss refused to sign her leave request for jury duty and now wants to fire her for being absent without permission.
As an astute manager, you will need to analyze the employment-at-will doctrine and determine what, if any, exceptions and liabilities exist before taking any action. As you proceed with your investigation, you discover the company has no whistleblower policy.
- Summarize the employment-at-will doctrine and then evaluate three (3) of the six (6) scenarios described by determining:
- Whether you can legally fire the employee; include an assessment of any pertinent exceptions to the employment-at-will doctrine.
- The primary action(s) that you should take to limit liability and impact on operations; specify the ethical theory that best supports your decision.
- Examine your state’s policy on employment-at-will. Analyze at least one (1) real-world example of an employee or employer utilizing your state’s employment-at-will doctrine in the last five (5) years. Include a summary of the main issue and the outcome in the identified real-world example.
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