Wrongful Discharge & Privacy

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					Wrongful Discharge & Privacy

Retention
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Discipline
Layoffs
• WARN
• Survivors

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Lifetime employment

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

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Employment at Will
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An employee can be dismissed for:
• A good cause • No cause • A cause morally wrong

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U.S. is the only industrialized country not to have comprehensive protection against wrongful discharge.

Employment at Will
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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

Employment at Will
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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?

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

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Privacy
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Privacy Act (1974)
• Files – required legally (COBRA, CRA91) • A good policy to keep records (HRIS)

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Employees may see files and insert rebuttal information (Washington)

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Search and Seizure
• Expectation is the issue

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

Drug Testing
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Public
• Drug-free Workplace Act: applies to federal agencies and some industries

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Private
• • • • • Alaska California Utah Rhode Island Minnesota

References
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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

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References
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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

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


				
Lingjuan Ma Lingjuan Ma MS
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