Wrongful Discharge & Privacy - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Wrongful Discharge & Privacy

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  1. Wrongful Discharge & Privacy

  2. Retention • Layoffs • Discipline • WARN • Survivors • Lifetime employment

  3. Discharge Process • When an employee files a lawsuit, the employer loses. • Merits are not as important as the way wrongful discharge happened.

  4. Employment at Will • An employee can be dismissed for: • A good cause • No cause • A cause morally wrong • U.S. is the only industrialized country not to have comprehensive protection against wrongful discharge.

  5. Employment at Will • Exceptions to employment at will • Statutes Public Policy: 1. Refusing to commit illegal act 2. Whistleblowing 3. Exercising a legal right or performing a legal duty

  6. Employment at Will • Implied contract • Breach of good faith and fair dealing • Constructive discharge • Preventing constructive discharge: • Common-law wrongful discharge • Why not a uniform “just cause” doctrine for determination?

  7. Preventing Wrongful Discharge • Language in a job application • Audit interviewing and performance appraisal procedures • Language in job offer letter and policy manual

  8. Privacy • Privacy Act (1974) • Files – required legally (COBRA, CRA91) • A good policy to keep records (HRIS) • Employees may see files and insert rebuttal information (Washington) • Search and Seizure • Expectation is the issue

  9. Privacy • Electronic surveillance • Polygraph • Prohibited in most cases • Exceptions include: public sector, ongoing investigation

  10. Drug Testing • Public • Drug-free Workplace Act: applies to federal agencies and some industries • Private • Alaska • California • Utah • Rhode Island • Minnesota

  11. References • Defamation is a common basis for suit • Qualified Privilege Doctrine: • Based on court indication that public good is best served by free exchange of information

  12. References • Requirements: • Information given in good faith • Limited to inquiry • Given at proper time and manner • Given to proper parties • True and related to job requirements • Revealed without malice and bad faith

  13. Violence 1. Firm, unambiguous policy 2. Response team 3. Training to recognize potential