Once upon a time, employees in all states but Montana (always bucking the establishment!) were presumed to be employed at-will, absent some sort of employment agreement (e.g. individual contract for a term, a collective bargaining agreement, policies that contemplate termination for cause, etc.). That means that either the employer or the employee may terminate the employment relationship at any time, for any or even no reason (as long as it’s not illegal – like, say, discrimination or retaliation). And so our well-meaning but foolish Employer is terribly excited by that principle because they want to get rid of an Employee. But … as with all good fairy tales, there is a dark side.Continue Reading At-Will Employment Is a Fairy Tale…
Should an employee who, while at a convention, knocks on a coworker’s hotel room door, enters, then heads to the coworker’s bed wearing nothing but a robe be fired, even if the employee claims to have been sleepwalking at the time? Or, as George Costanza of Seinfeld fame asked, “was that wrong?”
Continue Reading Extraordinary Workplace Misconduct: The Case of the Somnambulant Sales Rep
In all states but Montana, employment is presumed to be at-will, meaning that either the employer or the employee may terminate the employment relationship at any time, with or without cause or notice. That is, EXCEPT if there’s an employment contract (including a collective bargaining agreement for unionized employees) or where the termination would violate a law (like anti-discrimination statutes or other statutes that specifically prohibit termination for exercising certain employee rights, like taking protected leave) – or (of relevance here) where it would violate public policy.
Continue Reading Is the Right to Self-Defense an Exception to Employment-at-Will?