Case Example A: Elaine has sued Jerry because Jerry fired her. Elaine was on the job for two months.The job offer letter that Jerry had sent her mentioned the great career opportunities at the company and stated that her annual salary would be $30,000. The company is an employment‐at‐will employer. Elaine was given no reason for the termination. After the termination, Jerry hired a man named Kramer, who had less job experience and education than Elaine, for the position. Elaine has sued to get her job back.
There are legal issues in case example A. These issues will need to be brought up and answered before any decision can be made over this case. A letter was sent to Elaine. Could this be considered a contract? If not, was there a contract involved? If there was a contract involved, is it an executory contract or is it not valid at all? This is an employment-at-will employer, does the employer really need to give a reason for the termination? Ethics in business play a big role in today’s society. Could ethics have been violated by the employer? Is this discrimination against Elaine? Did the employer lower Elaine in to this business with lies to gain something from her? Is this an intentional misrepresentation or fraud? Did Elaine have a certain skill that the employer needed and after the employer got what he needed he fired her? These are short legal questions that will need to be further studied. Elaine’s argument contains legal rules to support her claim.
There is printed evidence that can definitely help out Elaine. The job offer letter states that there are great CAREER opportunities at the company. A career is defined as more than a simple job. It is a major part of a person’s life. A job usually last a couple of months. A career is thought of lasting for more than a couple of years. The fact that the term “career” was used in the letter, it is assumed that this is going to be something more than just a “job” Another word that was used is annual. The annual salary was said to be $30,000. The term “annual” also implies that the career that the employer is offering is something that is long term and not just a two month job. The plaintiff can argue that these were the conditions that were used when she was hired. She sought out this job because she was offered great career opportunities but was never given the “career” or the opportunity to make $30,000 annually. This could be classified under intentional misrepresentation or fraud because the plaintiff was brought into the business with false statements.
Something else that Elaine can argue is that she was discriminated. After she was fired, she was replaced by a man that had less job experience and a lower education than Elaine. Elaine might have been let go because of her sex. This could be a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The defendant also has a valid argument that he can dispute. This business is an employment at will employer. This means that the employee can be let go at any time for any reason. Elaine knew that this was an employment at will. When she read the letter and accepted the job, she also accepted all the conditions that came along with it. The plaintiff knew that she could be fired any time. This is the defendant’s argument. Based on facts and legal laws, the judge can look over the evidence and rules and make a decision. The employment-at-will doctrine clearly states that the employer can fire the employee at any time for any reason.
There are many exceptions to the employment-at-will doctrine. In this case, the tort exception and statutory exception can be applied in favor of the plaintiff. The tort exception states that the employee can sue an employer for fraud. Based on the letter Elaine received, she never was given what she was promised. The employer gave the future employee false statements regarding receiving $30,000 annually. The employer also made the employee believe that this was a career when it clearly lasted no more than two months. This is classified under fraud. The statutory exception will be the main exception in this case. The statutory exception states that “Title VII and other federal state antidiscrimination laws prohibit employers from engaging in race, sex, religious, age, handicap, or other forms of discrimination”.
Right after Elaine was fired, a man was hired for that same position with less work experience and a lower education. This is evidence that Elaine was discriminated based on her sex. An employee who was wrongfully discharged can sue the employer for damages. Therefore the plaintiff will win the case. The legal rules that currently apply are fair and reasonable. Employment-at-will employers exist because in some jobs, the employer needs that flexibility in order to respond to any changes or needs. Sometimes it is necessary to let employees go but the employer should never forget the laws of business and also ethics. Also, adding exceptions like statutory exception and tort exception to this doctrine helps protect employees in case they are ever treated unfair or are ever taken advantage by their employer. The rules that are currently set for now are fair and reasonable and should not be violated.
Cheeseman, H. R. The legal environment of business and online commerce. (Custom ed.).