In our last blog posting we discussed just what exactly employment at will means to your company. Now that you are aware of the terms of at will employment, we will discuss why businesses have it and follow it, and how to manage the terms and provisions of at will employment in your organization.
So Why Have At Will Employment at All?
Although exceptions to the rules of Employment At Will exist, it is nonetheless a very important part of the American employee-employer relationship. It provides a certain amount of structure or an organization, which makes it clear that there is no master/servant relationship and the days of indentured servitude are long behind us. It creates a respect for the freedom of the worker and the power of the employer and the balance that must be maintained so that each can be of service and mutual benefit to the other.
The balance is the key.
“Of all the things I’ve done, the most vital is coordinating those who work with me and aiming their efforts at a certain goal.” – Walt Disney
Employers must always respect this power from the aspect of employee morale: If you as an employer are perceived as taking for granted and treating your employees as disposable assets at the will of your whims, your employees will turn on you. And when they turn on you, they may very well turn to unions, government agencies, or litigation attorneys for protection of their rights.
A successful organization should see its employees as a vital asset and treat them as such. It should not operate with an employer vs. employee mindset. If this is the case, people will only work hard enough not to get fired, and I don’t have to tell you that’s not very good for productivity.
“Most people work just hard enough not to get fired and get paid just enough money not to quit.” – George Carlin
Employees must always respect this freedom from the aspect of job security: If you as an employee are perceived as taking for granted the benefits and stability provided to you and treat your employer as a machine held in bondage by its need for your skills and assets regardless of your behavior, your employer will turn on you. And when it turns on you, it will turn you out, and turn to the next person in line who needs a job.
What have we learned from all of this? Well, if you take nothing else away from this blog series, take at least this point. Even though Employment At Will does exist and you can technically terminate “at will”, it is in the best interest of employers and employees to operate under an agreement of good faith and fair dealing. If you can’t imagine yourself sitting in front of jury using “at will” as a defense, you had better have good cause for termination of the relationship. That one tip could save you a lot of hassle and a lot of money.
Now what? Well we suggest you review the previous two articles to be sure you’re up to speed. Then if you have other questions, we suggest that you Contact Us.
- Employment At Will Series – Part 2
- Why You Need to Write Down Those Unwritten Policies | The Importance of Policy Development