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Employer-at-Will Doctrine and Liability of an Employer

As a manager and supervisor of an accounting department, discuss the following issues related to the employment-at-will doctrine and liability of an employer based on actions and responses to the employee's behavior and actions.

Further description is below:

As a manager and supervisor of an accounting department, discuss the following issues related to the employment-at-will doctrine and liability of an employer based on actions and responses to the employee’s behavior and actions. Jennifer, a recent graduate, has recently been hired by your accounting firm out of college. Upon being hired, she engages in a number of different behaviors that need your attention.
Write a four to five (4-5) page paper in which you:

1. Describe what steps you would take to address the following scenario involving skills, competence, and abilities:
- The employee seems to be unable to learn the computer applications that are basic to her job responsibilities, but, consistently “tells” her boss that she is “a good worker and a genius” and that he does not “appreciate her”. Even after a few months of training and support, she is unable to use the computer tools to be productive and efficient in completing the required tasks.

2. Describe what steps you would take to address the following scenario involving management, behavior, and performance:
- The employee tends to burst into a rage when criticized and is frequently late to work as noticed by her boss and other staff members. When her boss attempts to address her behavioral issues and the company late policy, the employee’s response is that she “knows her rights and what to do” if she is wrongfully discharged. She also says she took a business law class in undergrad that taught her “everything she needs to know about exceptions to the employment-at-will doctrine and wrongful discharge in violation of public policy”.

3. Describe what steps you would take to address the following scenario involving labor and laws:
- The employee takes a day off from work, without management consent, for her religious holiday observance that falls on a day that is during “tax season”. The day off occurred during an incredibly busy period for the company during which the employer had notified all employees they were not allowed to take off without prior management approval. Also, there is no labor union for accountants. However, she begins talking to her co-workers during lunch breaks and sometimes during regular work hours, encouraging them to organize and form a union to “protect ourselves”.

4. Describe what steps you would take to address the following scenario involving policies and procedures:
- The employee’s supervisor consistently asks her out on dates; the employee initially refuses to go out on a date with her supervisor. The employee later discusses the issue with her girlfriend who encourages her to accept his offers. During her new employee orientation, the employee was informed of the company policy which prevented employees from dating their supervisor and was given an employee handbook with the written policy. The employee and her supervisor later begin having a consensual relationship.

5. Use at least three (3) quality legal references in this assignment. Note: Wikipedia and other Websites do not qualify as academic resources.

Solution Preview

1. With regards to skills, competence, and abilities, if an employee seems unable to learn computer applications that are basic to her job responsibilities, I will implement the performance evaluation system. This system will be implemented by me in a fair and equitable manner to assess how well the employees achieve their goals. This system will form the basis of providing training, promotions, and terminations of employees. I will ask supervisors to customize performance evaluation forms for every employee. In case of Jennifer, the knowledge of computer application and her ability to successfully perform her tasks will feature prominently in her performance evaluation. Her supervisor will assign suitable weights to different criteria and she will know the importance of each criterion before the performance evaluation period begins. Jennifer will be explained the link between her performance and the company performance and goals. From the legal perspective, I will ensure that Jennifer is not having any disability that needs accommodation under the American with Disability Act (1). The other legal perspective is that the performance evaluation system must be clearly described in the employee handbook or policy. It must have the signature of the employee. Next, before the evaluation period, I will describe clearly her job responsibilities and explain how the use of computer applications will help her discharge her duties. I will also offer training opportunities if she desires. I will then ask Jennifer to create an action plan as to how she will improve her computer application use skills. If she refuses help then I can ask her to take some time off from work to figure out the next step. Finally, I will follow up with Jennifer and ensure that her performance improves. Employment at will allows the firm to terminate Jennifer if she does not perform properly. However, the company should first try and train/develop Jennifer before terminating her for non-performance.

2. The tendency of the employee to burst into rage ...

Solution Summary

Responsibilities of the employer are explained in a structured manner in this response. The answer includes four references.

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