Even though there was a personnel manual that outlined the corrective action plan that would happen before employee termination, the at-will employment statement that Pat Grey signed is taken as contractual rather than those specifications in the manual.
Part of agreeing to be an at-will employee means that, similar to the way an employee can quit for any reason, an employer can fire an employee for any reason. The only reasons that are an exception to this rule are things like race and gender that have been labeled discriminatory. (Workplace Fairness, 2008). If Pat Grey’s expressed views at the school board meeting ultimately caused him to be fired, then so be it. Furthermore, without a direct statement that this was the reason he was fired, he would have trouble proving it in court – although because of at-will employment it would not matter anyways.
Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects employees from sex discrimination, which includes sexual harassment. Sexual harassment can include "unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature [that] explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment." (The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2008).
Newcorp is liable to protect its employees from sex discrimination. In order to do so, they can begin by firing Sam. There are many reasons he should be fired. First, by preventing Paula from transferring departments and by making unwelcome sexual advances, Sam is committing sexual harassment. If Newcorp did not reprimand Sam for sexual harassment in any way, Paula may take legal actions against Newcorp. Secondly, Sam likely violated his conditions of employment by becoming romantically involved with an employee that he supervised. Many companies have policies stating that supervisors cannot date the employees they supervise because other employees may feel that they are being put at an unfair advantage by not dating supervisors. Finally, Sam was using paid work time to have romantic encounters with Paula – any employee who uses company time for anything other than work is fair game for termination.
It may also be advisable for Newcorp to fire Paula, as she was also using paid work time to have romantic encounters with Sam. Her public displays of affection in front of the other employees may have also caused them to feel uncomfortable – which is a type of sexual harassment. Even if Paula is not fired, she should be disciplined in some way. However, it is a bad idea for Newcorp to fire Paula but not Sam, because Paula will try to sue Newcorp for the sexual harassment from Sam that Newcorp allowed.
Legal Encounter 3:
Newcorp has very little liability to Paul and his claim for worker’s compensation. While Paul’s claustrophobia may have arisen from his working conditions, these particular working conditions were normal for the job of a maintenance technician. Because being a maintenance technician normally requires a person to get into small spaces to fix things, Paul will not be able to claim worker’s comp for his claustrophobia. On the other hand, for example, if he worked in a cubicle for a calling