At Will Employment Ethics

For one of the two case studies presented, you will develop a written essay.Then you will develop a PowerPoint presentation. The PowerPoint presentation should correspond to what you write in your paper.Read the Focus on Ethics: The Ethics of the At-Will Doctrine in Chapter 7 of Industrial/Organizational Psychology.Then, write a 2-4-page paper and select one of the two assignment options to accompany your paper:Develop a 5-7 slide PowerPoint presentation that corresponds to your paperAnswer the following questions:What are other ethical dilemmas in the at-will doctrine?Which argument is credible: that of the doctrine’s critics or its supporters?What limitations other than those outlined in the textbook should be imposed on the doctrine to make it more ethical and, therefore, fairer?Evaluate the fairness of different laws for public and private sector employees (at-will employment versus just cause standards of employment). Adhere to the following standards:Your paper should be two to four pages in length, not including the title or reference pages.Your paper should include an introduction, a body with at least two fully developed paragraphs, and a conclusion.Support your interpretation with evidence from the book and at least two peer-reviewed journal articles from the library.Your PowerPoint presentation should be 5-7 slides and include a reference list and citationsArticle and sample paper attached
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FOCUS ON ETHICS
The Ethics of the At-Will Doctrine
A
s mentioned in this chapter, the employment-at-will
doctrine has been around for a very long time. It is
based on English Common law of the eighteenth century,
which said that the length of employment was presumed to be
for one year when there is work to be done and when there is
not. A New York State treatise writer, Horace Gay Wood, in his
book Master and Servant (1877), expanded on the doctrine,
stating that a hiring with no definite ending date is a hiring
at will. That is, unless both master and servant agree that
service was to extend for a specified time, it should be considered an indefinite hiring, and it us up to the servant, should he
be terminated, to prove otherwise. From what was then called
“Wood’s Rule” came the U.S. interpretation of employment law:
an employer is free to discharge individuals at any time for
cause or for no cause at all, and the employee is equally free to
quit at any time for any reason.
Many debates have arisen over the years as to the fairness
or ethics of such a doctrine. Critics have long feared that it
gives too much power to businesses over the lives of their
employees. To have such a rule that allows a company to fire
even good employees whenever and for whatever reason is
unfair and unethical. The doctrine provides little protection to
employees who work hard and who work well. And there is
little job security in an at-will company. Theoretically, employees can be fired just because a supervisor may not like them
or because of how they dress or look. An excuse often given to
employees who are terminated under “at-will” is, “You just
aren’t the right fit for this company.” Then there was a case
where an armored truck driver was fired for leaving his post
even though he only did so to save someone’s life (Gardner v.
Loomis Armored, Inc., April 4, 1996).
Opponents say that from a business perspective, the doctrine provides little incentive for people to work hard,
because, if employees can be terminated no matter how
hard they work, what’s the benefit of putting in the extra
effort? Motivation can even suffer if employees are working
under “fear” of their jobs. Finally, because at-will employees
are treated differently than “for just cause” employees, critics
state that it is unfair and unequal treatment under the law,
which violates the Fourteenth Amendment. Also, motivation
can suffer when employees fear that they can be terminated
at any time.
Supporters state that the doctrine provides equal fairness
to both the employer and employee when it comes to termination of employment. They say it is only fair that if an
employee can terminate employment at any time, then the
employer should have that same right. They cite the limitations to the doctrine, outlined in this chapter, provide further
protection to employees. Supporters further state that the
doctrine is not totally free from lawsuits, as evidenced by
the lawsuit filed and won by the defendant in the Gardner
case cited here. Additionally, applicants don’t have to work for
or sign an employment at-will statement at an at-will company if they think the doctrine is unfair. They have the right
to seek employment elsewhere.
What Do You Think?
n
What are other ethical dilemmas in the at-will doctrine?
n
Which argument do you agree with: that of critics of the
doctrine or supporters?
n
Are there other limitations that should be imposed on the
doctrine, other than those outlined in your textbook, that
would make the doctrine more ethical, and therefore,
fairer?
n
Do you agree that having different laws for public and private
sector employees (at will versus for just cause) is fair?
Chapter Summary
In this chapter you learned:
n
There are 10 steps in creating a performance appraisal system: (1) determine
the reasons for performance evaluation, (2) identify environmental and cultural
limitations that might affect the success of an appraisal system, (3) determine
who will evaluate performance, (4) create an instrument to evaluate performance,
(5) explain the system to those who will use it, (6) observe and document
EVALUATING EMPLOYEE PERFORMANCE
275
Copyright 2016 Cengage Learning. All Rights Reserved. May not be copied, scanned, or duplicated, in whole or in part. Due to electronic rights, some third party content may be suppressed from the eBook and/or eChapter(s).
Editorial review has deemed that any suppressed content does not materially affect the overall learning experience. Cengage Learning reserves the right to remove additional content at any time if subsequent rights restrictions require it.
04/10/2018 – RS0000000000000000000001003509 (Amy Stuart) – Industrial/Organizational Psychology: An
Applied Approach
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Colorado State University – Global Campus
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August 6, 2010
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References
Carroll, A. B. (1979). A three-dimensional conceptual model of corporate performance. The
Academy of Management Review, 4(4), 497. [This is a journal article citation. Articles
from the Library databases are based on print journals so the citation will end with page
numbers.]
Collins, J. (2001). Good to great. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers Inc. [This is a book
citation.]
Epstein, M. J. (2008). Making sustainability work. San Francisco, CA: Greenleaf
Publishing Limited.
Epstein, M., & Roy, M. (2003). Improving sustainability performance: Specifying, implementing
and measuring key principles. Journal of General Management, 29(1), 15-31.
French, S. (2009). Critiquing the language of strategic management. The Journal of Management
Development, 28(1), 6-17. doi: 10.1108/02621710910923836 [This is a journal article
citation from a Library database. Include a doi number if available.]
Ginter, P., Ruck, A., & Duncan, W. (1985). Planners’ perceptions of the strategic management
process. Journal of Management Studies, 22(6), 581-596.
Hollingworth, M. (2009, November/December). Building 360 organizational sustainability. Ivey
Business Journal Online. Retrieved from
http://www.iveybusinessjournal.com/article.asp?intArticle_ID=868 [This is a journal that
is published online, so you would include the URL.]
Reuters. (2010). Walgreens Co. (WAG.N). Retrieved from
http://www.reuters.com/finance/stocks/companyProfile?symbol=WAG.N
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Walgreens. (2010a). Mission statement. Retrieved from
http://news.walgreens.com/article_display.cfm?article_id=1042 [This is a website citation
with a corporate author. If you retrieve information from various pages of this particular
website, you need to cite each web page. However, because the author and the year will
be exactly the same, the lowercase letters, “a,” “b,” etc. need to be added to the year. The
in-text citation would be: (Walgreens, 2010a).]
Walgreens. (2010b). Our past. Retrieved from
http://www.walgreens.com/marketing/about/history/default.html

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