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Legal Risk and Opportunity in Employment

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Legal Risk and Opportunity in Employment
Yolanda Baker
LAW/521
February 14, 2011
Kathryn Harris

Abstract
There are several encounters that can take place in the workplace that can hold a company legally liable. These include violations of Equal Opportunity in employment and OSHA regulations. This paper will discuss in detail certain violations to include wrongful terminations, at will employment laws, sexual harassment and unsafe working conditions.

Legal Encounter 1 - Wrongful Discharge
NewCorp has liability under the Employment at Will Doctrine. The Employment at Will Doctrine dictates that an employer has the right to fire an employee and an employee has the right to quit or terminate employment "at will". At will in this instance means without advanced notice or cause. However, there are several states with exceptions to this doctrine, Vermont, the state in which Pat was hired, is one of them. Vermont has an implied-contract exception. When employers hire employees without explicit contracts, some states such as Vermont, consider policy manuals, employee handbooks, and employee agreements as obligatory contracts of continued employment. Upon hire NewCorp was given a personnel manual that explained that there would be a process to notify and correct unsatisfactory performance. This would include an corrective action plan after notification and the acknowledgment that termination would follow if employee performance was not improved to satisfactory level. In this case, NewCorp outlined a disciplinary action that must precede termination. This disciplinary action process is seen in most courts as an implied obligatory contract. The failure to follow this process in terminating Pat created a breach of this implied obligatory contract and thus violated the Employment at Will Doctrine. The implied contract exception dictates that a employer does

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