Legal Risk and Opportunity in Employment
In the legal encounter one (University of Phoenix Legal encounter), Pat Grey was hired by NewCorp as manager of real property for NewCorp in Vermont. She was to be responsible for activities related to maintaining leased office space. In that role, Pat had to supervise 51 employees as well as lower-level supervisors, and he had to deal with tenants who leased commercial space. For the job, Pat relocated from another city 300 miles away with his spouse and children. He sold and bought a home, and had to deal with a spouse who had to quit her job to seek employment in the new state.
After Pat had been on the job for three months, his boss discharged him with 30 days severance pay. Pat was surprised because his employer gave no indication of any problem on the job. NewCorp’s Personnel Manual, which had been provided to Pat upon his acceptance of employment, outlined the process for dealing with unsatisfactory employees which stated a Notice of Unsatisfactory Performance/Corrective Action Plan included that “If the job performance of an employee is unsatisfactory, the employee needs be notified of the deficiency and placed on a Corrective Action Plan (CAP). If the employee performance does not improve to a satisfactory level within the specified period of time, termination needs to follow.
Pat acknowledged that upon employment, he signed an understanding that the company observed employment at will with respect to employment and discharge, but believed that the above provision limited NewCorp’s freedom to fire him at will. Finally, Pat observes that NewCorp senior management was “noticeably unfriendly” after Pat had been vocal at a local school board meeting. In the meeting, Pat insisted that school sports funds should be equally allocated among all student athletic programs, not just concentrated on the boy’s football and basketball programs. His position on the matter was unpopular, and although no one...