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Assignment: Assignment 1 Title: Employment At-Will Doctrine Student: David Nti-Berko Professor: Anne E. Dewey-Balzhiser Course: LEG 500 – Law, Ethics, and Corporate Governance Submission Date: 07/28/2013

Introduction

Since the latter part of the nineteenth century, employment at-will has been the starting point in America employer-employee relationships (D. Mathews, 1975). Under the doctrine of employment at-will, an employer may terminate employees for good cause, bad cause, or no cause at all. Most western industrialized countries do not observe employment at-will doctrine. According to the legal history, employment at-will doctrine is a legal fiction unintentionally invented by Horace C. Wood in his legal thesis in 1877 on employment law entitled “Master and Servant” (Toussaint v. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Michigan, Mich. 1980). At-will employees can be terminated for any reason or no reason at all. This means that in an at-will workplace there is no esoteric form of fairness or justice that can be protected or enforced by the courts.
In the states whereby employment at-will doctrine is observed, an employer or supervisor can terminate an employee because they do not like their style of dress, choice of music or maybe even the color of their shirt, and the employee would have no real legal recourse in most instances. Because employees can be terminated for no reason, it does create a dilemma for employees who attempt to report or “blow the whistle” on misconduct by their immediate supervisor or the company. For example, Melissa Nelson, dentist assistance in Iowa City, Iowa was fired by her employer for being too attractive (Ryan Foley, 2012). Employers have even begun to threaten employees with termination for off-duty legal conduct such as smoking outside the workplace (J. Peters,...

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