Employment at will doctrine

Employment at will and progressive discipline


Institution affiliation



Employment at Will Doctrine

Employment at will doctrine is a document that shows that an employee is given a contract of an unspecified time period. It shows that the employee was not under duress to work for the company and should be included in the contract (Kurec, 2014). Termination of employment that contains at-will provision may be wrongful at some point. Some of these exceptions are; implied contract exception which involves a situation whereby an employer includes a binding statement involving termination of contract. Secondly are the public policy exceptions which vary from state to state. An employer will not at any given point terminate a contract for an employee against a well stipulated state policy. Lastly is the implied agreement of good faith and fair dealing. In this case, an employer will not terminate employment under mischievousness but under good reason (Hodges, 2018).

The human resource practice is dynamic and requires continues review on its components, one of it being on employment at will doctrine exceptions. In the current times, public policy exception is very applicable. It is the duty of the state to protect employees at all times against employers with bad intensions. It is very hard for an employer to go against a public policy for it is accompanied by tough penalties. The second relevant exception is the implied contract exception (Hodges, 2018). This inclusion protects employees against wrongful termination of employment. A good example of implied contract is a situation whereby an employer includes statement about reasons that may lead to contract termination. These statements when included in the contract paper means that it will be followed to the latter by the employer when the employee is faced with a case of contract termination.

Progressive Discipline

Progressive discipline is a systematic increase in punishment with the continuous repeat of a certain occurrence. This system is favorable to both an employer and employee since it does not involve firing of a person at the first occurrence of a mistake, and also it helps the employer not to make mistake of firing a competent employee that is a good asset to the company. Progressive process comprises of four steps to be followed (Hodges, 2018). The first step is counseling of the employee. Counseling is very important since the employee gets a chance to explain themselves on the reasons for their actions and also allows the employer to explain the seriousness of their mistake and reasons for them to change.

The second step is the written warning part which involves the employer writing a warning letter to an employee who has been in a mistake for the second time. The letter should clearly underline the severity of the case to the employee, the penalties that may accompany their mistake and finally the expected behavior for the employee. The third part of the process is the employee suspension and improvement plan which involves sending the employee home for a break to think about the situation. The employee should provide an improvement plan letter within the 24hrs of suspension failure to which may lead to work termination. This stage is very important since the employee will be able to see the degree of his/her mistake. After all the three processes fails, the employee is fired. This happens when an employee is not showing any chance of improvement at work. Progressive discipline approach to employee discharge involves making sure that the employer understands the laws of dismissal (Collings & Szamosi, 2018). If an employee engages in illegal activities that endangers the image of the company, then the employer may fire the employee without following the required steps.

The concepts of employment at will and progressive discipline interacts very well with progressive discipline supporting employment at will doctrine. When an employee is allowed to join the company at will, it is very easy to manage them since they will be self driven. With the use of progressive discipline policy, it will be easy to make the employees change in case of a mistake without immediate dismissal (Collings & Szamosi, 2018). The progressive discipline approach will help the company guide the contractual agreement by saving time for lawsuits. In other words, progressive discipline approach favors both the employee and employer interests.

Human beings always perform at their best if they are allowed to work or do something without any form of duress. Employment at will doctrine allows for the company to generate good income since the employees joined the company at their own wish meaning they understood everything about the company. The progressive discipline approach will also help the employees work at their best since it involves communicating of the management to the employees about the ways they are supposed to work. This will lead to the company generating good returns since employees are asked to work according to the companyโ€™s principles hence reducing the chances of firing of the best experienced workers (Duncan & Hill, 2014). In conclusion, when these two approaches are combined, the best results are achieved for the company and the employees will feel valued and protected in the long run.


Collings, D. G., Wood, G. T., & Szamosi, L. T. (2018). Human resource management: A critical approach. In Human Resource Management (pp. 1-23). Routledge.

Duncan, M., & Hill, J. (2014). Termination documentation. Business and Professional Communication Quarterly, 77(3), 297-311.

Hodges, A. C. (2018). Principles of employment law.

Kurec, A. S. (2014). Employee selection. In Clinical Laboratory Management, Second Editio(pp. 295-308). American Society of Microbiology.

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