Anna’s Boss Refused To Sign Her Leave Request For Jury Duty And Now Wants To Fire Her For Being Absent Without Permission

3316 words - 14 pages









Kimberlyn M Rice


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This approach towards understanding the At-Will Employment Doctrine coupled with the overall reluctance of most workers to engage their employers in a serious discussion about their rights in the workplace leads to confusion and sometimes devastating consequences. According to an employment law attorney, at least once a week an explanation to a displaced worker why, in spite of the fact they were discharged because their supervisor “had it out for them,” they had no real legal recourse because they are considered an at-will employee. Therefore, it is the employment law attorney sincere belief that anyone, regardless of profession, who is either an employer or an employee should at least have a basic understanding of what is the At-Will Employment Doctrine, and what rights employers and employees have under it, particularly since most states have adopted it through the courts, if not by legislation.

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Scenario 1
John posted a rant on his Facebook page in which he criticized the company’s most important customer.

Facebook has become the dominant website for social networking across the country with businesses and personal users alike taking advantage of the website's ability to reach millions of people instantly. As a small-business owner, how you address employee use of Facebook while in your workplace can have a lasting effect on how your company uses social networking and what employees say about your company as a whole. Facebook can provide a free means of business advertising, the social networking website also can become an easy platform for disparaging remarks against your small business. Enacting a social networking policy in the workplace that bans employee commenting on work-related subjects can stop this trend before it starts and limit any damaging remarks from disgruntled workers. Your company policy doesn't necessarily ban using Facebook altogether in the workplace, just conversations regarding your business and any workplace activities. At the time of publication, no state or federal laws restricting your ability as a business owner to monitor employee computer use or employee social networking activity exist. Several states -- including California, New York and Colorado -- place restrictions on employee termination for activity outside of the workplace. If your business operates in any of these states, your social networking policy can only apply to activity in the workplace. If you fire an employee for a Facebook post made outside of work, you may be breaking the law.

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a. Whether you can legally fire the employee; include an assessment of any pertinent exceptions to the employment-at-will doctrine

In general, Maryland is a strongly “at-will state” when it comes to employment.  Unless one of the three exceptions listed below applies, either the worker or the employer may end the employment relationship at any time, under any circumstances – no notice, no severance, no due process, no exit...

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