Legal issues and legal reasoning

Case Study

Elaine has sued Jerry because Jerry fired her.

Elaine was on the letter she had been given mentioned the great career opportunities at the company and stated that her annual salary would be $30,000. The employer is an employment at will employer. Elaine was given no reason for the termination. After the termination, Jerry hired a man named Kramer, who had less job experience and education than Elaine, for the position.

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Elaine has sued to get her job back.

Legal Issues

The legal problem in the case of Elaine vs. her employer Jerry is the promise given by the employer to offer her great employment. Bearing in mind the employer is an “At Will” employer, the question rises if he needs to explain terminating her employment.

Other questions, which must be addressed include whether there was any ethical issues or any type of discrimination that led to the termination of the plaintiff. To make a ruling on this case it needs to be clarified if the employer had the right to terminate the plaintiff’s employment without explanation and if there is sufficient evidence to justify claim of ethics violation or discrimination used against the petitioner.

Plaintiff’s argument

The petitioner has the “burden of proof” for demonstrating each count of accusation leveled against the employer. The petitioner claims to have been wrongfully fired and had been sexually discriminated. The petitioner argues that her letter of employment promised her a great career opportunity and her starting salary would be $30,000 annually, which had not been honored. Despite the fact that the employer is an “at will” employer and does not require drawing an employment contract, the job offer letter he issued the plaintiff in this case became the contract the moment the plaintiff accepted it. Elaine lays her claim on sex discrimination based on the fact that the employer hired a man named Kramer who also had less experience and his education was lower than hers was. She claims, based on the wrongful dismissal that she needs to be offered her employment back.

Though the defendant is an “at will employer” which gives him the right to fire an employee legally for any reason, the plaintiff could claim that the offer she received from him was an “express contract” that governs the employment connection. This would imply in her instance existed an “implied-in-fact contract” at the time of hiring which was created between her and the employer. In the letter which she received on her employment stated; “Her annual salary would be $30, 000,” and she should expect “great career opportunities”. Here the word “annual” in relation to salary brings to light the fact that her work in the company was indefinite. In addition, when the letter mentioned great career opportunities it would be logical to believe it meant the career was going to be for more than two years. The plaintiff could also enforce Title VII of the Civil Rights Act referred to as the fair Practices Act, which was made to purge job discrimination based on color, race, nationality, sex and religion.

Defendant’s Arguments

At- will employment is a policy in the United States law which describes employment relationship where the affected parties may opt out of the relationship without liability, if and only if there is no express contract for a given definite term leading the employment relationship.

In addition, the employer should not be a member of a collective bargaining group. The defendant under this policy could argue the petitioners claims by stating clearly he does not have to explain terminating the employment since he is an “at will “employer. He could also argue that though Kramer, the new employee, claimed had little experience and his education was lower than the plaintiff’s was hired based on natural abilities and offered a better job. He could also argue that the sex discrimination charges were unsupported since he had hired her.

My decision as the judge

In the case brought before me, it is my findings that there was no defense offered by the defendant on the wrongful job termination brought by the plaintiff. The plaintiff in my findings has brought sufficient evidence to show her employment was wrongfully terminated, which clearly showed that it was created on the express employment contract. The petitioner’s employment letter promises to offer great career opportunities, which clearly suggest the employment was to be long-term and was to last for more than a single year. There are various constitutional and contract exceptions that apply to employment drawn out of at will doctrine.

The exceptions states that; if wrongfully discharged, an employee can take legal action against the employer for compensation. It is also clear that the plaintiff was sexually discriminated and this goes against Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which protect these rights. Based on the evidence brought, it is my ruling that the plaintiff should be reinstated and granted punitive damages for her wrongful dismissal from work.

My Own Opinion

In my opinion, there is fair and reasonable application of the At-will employment law. Exceptions on the employment at will help protect employees who may have been wrongfully dismissed. There are some ethical issues concerns about the application of this doctrine.

One of them is there should be a written explanation on reason for dismissal because lack of this leaves the dismissed employee. If we assume an employee who was rightfully terminated but was offered no written explanation may find it hard to identify and rectify their mistakes. This to appoint, could affect the society creating increased unemployment, which will lead to many social ills. The written explanation would help the employee accept the termination and help improve his/her performance. It is also my opinion the Title VII of the Civil Right Act laws should be harshly enforced to avoid the numerous cases arising from wrongful termination and segregation. This should also try involving and protecting male workers, as it seems that sex discrimination only applies to women.


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