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At-Will Employment

Rorschach1985

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At-Will Employment
« on: October 29, 2014, 11:38:38 PM »
What is your take on the issue?

I personally do not like it at all, and don't really know any justifications behind it. 

It is suppose to be a fair law where employers can fire at will and employees can leave at will(though recommends a 2 weeks notice period).  You would think it is fair, but it is not, as employers have more of a leverage on this law.  For one thing, they can hire some kid out of college or a bum off the streets to replace you(and fire them, rinse and repeat), and employees have families and bills to pay.

I personally fell victim to this a couple of months ago, but then I saw this coming.  There wasn't enough work to do and the company was pretty much financially unstable.  However, they justified my firing as being "not a good fit" despite exceeding expectations(I was a software programmer and pushed all code to production fast and early) and having no problems with others at work.  Heck, I was not given a due notice.

Though, if I was in my employers shoes, I would probably do the same, without being a dick about it and just be straight honest.

I heard the laws are different in UK in the sense there has to be good reason to fire an employee.  Maybe some people living there can shed some light into this?

BTW, I live in Florida, which is known as an employers state.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2014, 11:54:03 PM by Rorschach1985 »

XerxesTWD

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Re: At-Will Employment
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2014, 11:45:20 PM »
It's something that should be beneficial to everybody, but it gets frequently abused. Some employers do exactly what you've described.

Unions (in the US) are the same way. Some of them are very beneficial, others really don't have a purpose.

CA is an at-will employment state, but they have exceptions. Actions taken in this respect require acting in good faith and fair dealing or litigation can occur.

Prime

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Re: At-Will Employment
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2014, 12:27:16 AM »
It's something that should be beneficial to everybody, but it gets frequently abused. Some employers do exactly what you've described.

Unions (in the US) are the same way. Some of them are very beneficial, others really don't have a purpose.

CA is an at-will employment state, but they have exceptions. Actions taken in this respect require acting in good faith and fair dealing or litigation can occur.
Same for Massachusetts.

MTL76

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Re: At-Will Employment
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2014, 11:51:00 AM »
In my office the staff is union, and it's pretty much impossible to get rid of someone no matter how incompetent they are. On any given day, about 25% of the staff is out on FMLA or Workman's Comp, the majority of it for bullshit reasons. One nurse was pissed she didn't get the summer vacation she wanted because of not being senior, so found a quack to sign off on her Workman's Comp for a wrist sprain that was "excruciating" and got the summer off anyway. So I am a bit jaded on unions. Don't get me started on the impossibility of firing corrupt or incompetent cops and teachers in NYC.

However, I'd imagine the flip side is even worse. A company is obviously larger and has more resources than any individual. So a company can almost always fire someone with little to no impact on its productivity, while being fired can and usually is devastating for the individual. This imbalance of power could easily allow the company to treat its workers like shit.

I guess unions are a necessary evil but at the same time it would be nice if employers had some more control over hiring and firing. A balance between the two situations.


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fatnlazy

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Re: At-Will Employment
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2014, 12:27:42 PM »
On one hand, I get how it can be abused.

On the other, however, especially for small businesses, if you created the business, put all your money and time into the business, you should be able to hire and fire whoever you want, whenever you want. Also, without a contract, I should be able to tell the owner to kiss my ass, and leave at the drop of a hat if I need to.

Obvious exceptions are when someone has been with the company for a substantial amount of time, and/or has contributed to a company retirement system. They need to be protected from shit head owners and corps. who just want to save money.

MTL76

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Re: At-Will Employment
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2014, 12:41:48 PM »
Agreed. With a small business, the distribution of power is more balanced. Good people are hard to find, and if I own a small business with ten employees, I am going to try my best to keep the good ones because their loss will have a dramatic impact on my business. At the same time, I would want the power to get rid of the bad ones in a hurry because their fuck-ups will be very detrimental to the bottom line. It's different with a company of ten thousand employees. You can lose a few good ones, profit margins are higher so you can just hire extra dummies to do grunt work for cheap, etc.


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Rorschach1985

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Re: At-Will Employment
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2014, 01:13:28 PM »
I get with what MTL76 and fatnlazy are saying.

MTL76, honestly you'll be someone I would love to work for.

The issue I had was that the job was advertised as a permanent position.  It was not a software company, and had I known there would not be much sustainable work beyond 3 months, I would have not taken the job, unless I wanted a contract position to augment my resume with new skills.

Luckily, I found another job with more work to be done.

I do believe that employers should have a decision to hire and fire, but I also do believe, that the employer should be able to tell the employee why he is getting fired, even if it is something like not like someone's color of their skin(it is against the law, but that is besides the point).  That way it they should have access to unemployment through the termination letter of the employer. 




g-train

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Re: At-Will Employment
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2014, 10:28:10 PM »
Honestly; it would be way too easy to abuse "at-will" termination.

Imagine how corrupt and just generally shitty all managers could treat their employees's?

I work at a union place and its far from perfect itself.

Can only imagine the absolute shit you get at non-union companies.

The biggest problem is; employers as a small business, you or the owner is the employer.

But for the super corporations.....there are no true "owners" in that sense, just the highest paid representations of the company.

Even then; a lot of the time, the people doing the hiring and firing aren't the employers.

Honestly; even with a union, it can be pretty easy to get fired until you get up to a certain level and then its almost impossible to do so.  Like ridiculously so, once you hit manager you can practically do what you want and worst to worst just be asked to "early retirement" and even then you have to behave really bad.

Jabroniville

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Re: At-Will Employment
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2014, 03:00:19 AM »
I think the way it works where I work is pretty good- They can let someone go for almost any reason within the first 3 months, but after that, they're locked into the union and you have to go through the process of three write-ups and a termination (unless theft or something like that is involved). It isn't perfect (people still get by on WCB stuff, and some SHIT staffers will still be on because their supervisors are weak and don't want the drama of getting them in trouble and have to deal with Union reps), but if the managers show some balls, they can write people up for thing and slowly begin to fire them- others who've been written-up multiple times will also get the idea and quit.

issue9mm

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Re: At-Will Employment
« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2014, 12:05:16 PM »
Unions are fine, but their tendency towards corruption increases dramatically the more they get in bed with the state.  Because unions have legal authority to enforce mandatory enrollment and dues collection, I'd say that overall, they're a net negative.

At will employment, similarly, *can* be abused for evil, but at the same time, the counter to that is equally true.  In places like the EU, where at-will employment does not exist, you end up with increased unemployment and long, arduous hiring practices.  There's no such thing as getting hired with a single interview, because the companies know that once you're hired, firing you is near impossible.  As a result, they painstakingly evaluate every candidate for fitness, and it sets a very high bar for those new to the area or job market, making it nearly impossible for young people and college grads to get hired without a proven history. 

So, while At Will employment has the potential for abuse, I think that, on matters of individual liberty, it's preferable to the alternatives that stifle employment overall.  At the end of the day, even in the large, megalithic companies, hard workers will generally have jobs so long as they remain hard workers.  Obviously, illness and injuries can throw a wrench into that, but at the same time, if you were running a landscaping business, and your first employee had an accident that turned him into Stephen Hawking, how can you justify keeping him on the payroll when he can do absolutely nothing to contribute to your business?

g-train

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Re: At-Will Employment
« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2014, 09:57:00 PM »
Unions are fine, but their tendency towards corruption increases dramatically the more they get in bed with the state.  Because unions have legal authority to enforce mandatory enrollment and dues collection, I'd say that overall, they're a net negative.

At will employment, similarly, *can* be abused for evil, but at the same time, the counter to that is equally true.  In places like the EU, where at-will employment does not exist, you end up with increased unemployment and long, arduous hiring practices.  There's no such thing as getting hired with a single interview, because the companies know that once you're hired, firing you is near impossible.  As a result, they painstakingly evaluate every candidate for fitness, and it sets a very high bar for those new to the area or job market, making it nearly impossible for young people and college grads to get hired without a proven history. 

So, while At Will employment has the potential for abuse, I think that, on matters of individual liberty, it's preferable to the alternatives that stifle employment overall.  At the end of the day, even in the large, megalithic companies, hard workers will generally have jobs so long as they remain hard workers.  Obviously, illness and injuries can throw a wrench into that, but at the same time, if you were running a landscaping business, and your first employee had an accident that turned him into Stephen Hawking, how can you justify keeping him on the payroll when he can do absolutely nothing to contribute to your business?

Have him write award winning novels that make people rethink and change how they look at landscaping as a very science?

issue9mm

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Re: At-Will Employment
« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2014, 10:59:42 PM »
Practical.

Rufio

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Re: At-Will Employment
« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2014, 02:55:17 PM »

 It's a trade off between flexibility and security. If employees can be fired at will, it does allow the economy to be more flexible and responsive to changing facts on the ground. In practice, requiring a reason to fire someone creates a legal right. If enough employees exercise their right to contest a given firing, it can clog up the system and make employers less likely to hire.

 On the other hand, this creates worker insecurity and can give management undo power. When workers are too insecure, they can't effectively take the time required to land the best job that their skillset qualifies them for. This is where the government can and should step in to correct this distortion, through better unemployment benefits and providing incentives to limit layoffs during recessions. Germany has a pretty good system for providing security to skilled workers without sacrificing much flexibiity.

issue9mm

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Re: At-Will Employment
« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2014, 05:45:00 PM »
Tell me more about the German employment paradigm. 

Rufio

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Re: At-Will Employment
« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2014, 09:04:00 PM »
   During recessions, government will give employers the option of allowing workers to cut their hours and exchange shifts with one another rather than using layoffs to keep labor costs down. The government will supplement the income of workers whose hours are cut so that they're still earning roughly the same, keeping unemployment rates down while allowing companies to cut labor costs.

   Aside from that, there's more extensive unemployment benefits and labor actually gets to elect a portion of corporate directors.

   Raghuram Rajan of the Chicago School had a list of stats in his book Faultlines going over how US workers tended to be out of work longer following recessions since the 1980s, yet unemployment benefits follow the same guidelines as they did from the 1940s-1960s when recessions tended to be short lived and employment quickly bounced back. One of the key points is that although the US system increases flexibility in the labor market, the lack of security for workers who lose their jobs pushes them into making hasty employment decisions to safeguard their livelihood rather than taking a longer and ultimately more rewarding job search.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2014, 12:17:36 AM by Rufio »