2. Debra Agis worked as a waitress in a Ground Round restaurant. The manager, Roger Dionne, informed the waitresses that “there was some stealing going on.” Until he found out who was doing it, he intended to fire all the waitresses in alphabetical order, starting with the letter “A.” Dionne then fired Agis. Does she have a valid claim?
Answer question 2 on page 334 of the text. Present both the employer and employee’s arguments to a court when Agis sues Ground Round. Based on the arguments, whom does your group think will win and why? If you are divided, post both rationales.
As stated on page 320, “Unless workers have an explicit employment contract, they are employees at will.” An employee at will can be fired for a good reason, bad reason, or no reason at all. In the absence of a specific legal exception, the rule in the United States is that an employee at will can be fired for any reason. There are many exceptions to this rule in the form of statutes and common law.
Below are some exceptions to the ‘at will’ law:
The NLRA prohibits employers from penalizing workers for union activity.
FMLA guarantees workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year for childbirth, adoption, or a serious health condition of their own or in their immediate family.
Under the doctrine of wrongful discharge, an employer cannot fire a worker for a reason that violates public policy.
Generally, an employee may not be fired for refusing to violate the law, performing a legal duty, exercising a legal right, or supporting basic societal values.
Employers are liable if they treat their workers cruelly.
Whistleblowers receive some protection under both federal and state laws.
Employer argument for firing Debra Agis- Debra is an “at will” employee. She does not have an exemption because she was not forming a union, and she has never been asked to break the law or violate public policy. She is not being treated cruelly, she was simply fired in order to deter theft from the employer.
Argument for Debra Agis- Although an “at will”employee, firing Debra was in essence treating her cruelly as a punishment for an action she did not commit and the employer cannot prove she committed.
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