Business Law and the Legal Environment Study Set 1

Business

Quiz 39 :
Regulation of Employment

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Quiz 39 :
Regulation of Employment

Relevant Terms, Laws, and Cases Wrongful Discharge - Employers will be liable to for wrongfully terminating an employee's contract for the following reasons: • To discriminate against the employee (race, sex, religion, etc.) • As retaliation against the employee for reporting suspicious or illegal company activities. • Employee's refusal to comply with an illegal action. • Employer did not comply with firing process outlined in employment contractual obligations. Discussion If an employee was wrongfully discharged they may recover for wages (if there was unpaid), breach of contract (if firing did not comply with employment contract). In some cases, employee may even claim exemplary damages for firing due to discrimination.

Refer to the case Smyth v Pillsbury to answer question as below: Facts to this case: • Employee (plaintiff) sent his supervisor emails containing threatening languages. • Employee was hired in an at will status. • The company (defendant) fired the employee due to these emails. Case Issue The issue is whether employee can recover his job and back pay claiming invasion of privacy of his email contents. Relevant Terms, Laws, and Cases Invasion of Privacy - is an illegal search which violates the private matters of a person. At will employment - employee hired is at will and either employer or employee can terminate the employment for any reasons that aren't against public policy or employment law. Opinion The court held for the defendant. The employee claimed his wrongful termination as his privacy was violated; termination against public policy. The court argued otherwise: • There was no violation of privacy as the employee sent those emails to a supervisor. • The employee voluntarily sent his email using those words. • The email system belonged to the company which did not guarantee privacy of email communication Thus, the court held that employee had no valid claim against his employer.

Refer to the case Sabine Pilot Service v Hauck to answer question as below: Facts to this case • Employee was hired at will by employer. • Employee refused to comply with an illegal act requested by employer. • Employer fired the employee. Case Issue The issue is whether the employee was wrongfully discharged, when he was an at will employee refusing to comply with an illegal act. Relevant Terms, Laws, and Cases Wrongful Discharge - Employers will be liable to for wrongfully terminating an employee's contract for the following reasons: • To discriminate against the employee (race, sex, religion, etc.) • As retaliation against the employee for reporting suspicious or illegal company activities. • Employee's refusal to comply with an illegal action. • Employer did not comply with firing process outlined in employment contractual obligations. At will employment - employee hired is at will and either employer or employee can terminate the employment for any reasons that aren't against public policy or employment law. Opinion The court held for the employee. They argued that: • At-will employees can be terminated for any reasons, but there are exceptions. • One exception is a refusal to comply with illegal activity. Thus, the court held that the employers are liable for firing at will employees for refusing to comply with an illegal act.

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