BUSA+Employment+and+Worker+Protection+Laws+(20) -...

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WORKER PROTECTION LAWS Who needs protection—the employer or the employee? I. Overview In the past, the dominant contractual form the employment relationship has taken has been found in the employment at will doctrine. This doctrine assumes that given equal bargaining power, and absent express or implied agreement to the contrary, either the employee or employer may end the relationship. This termination can come about at any time, for any reason, bilaterally or unilaterally. The doctrine has long been under fire because of being myopic on two main scores: it presumes equality of bargaining power between the employer and employee and that the employment relationship is a totally private contractual matter between the contracting parties. Recent cases and legislative enactments have greatly eroded the doctrine. On the legislative front, a number of states have decided that public policy interests in favor of certain kinds of activities must take precedence over the employer/employee relationship. Examples would include voting rights, antidiscrimination measures, whistleblower protections, and employee health and safety protections. In addition, a number of courts have seen fit to interpret employer handbooks, written and oral job policies, and other acts as indicia of an implied contract between the employer and employee. So what may have appeared originally to be the employee's economic ball and chain has also become the employer's. The simple truth is that there is a growing involvement of government at every step of the employer/employee relationship. It sets the ground rules for hiring, working conditions, paying for harm, termination, and ultimate payment of pensions and or death benefits. It all has come a long way from the simplistic and archaic notion that the employment contract is only the business of the immediate parties involved. In fact, many statutes protect the employment relationship by insuring a minimum wage, a premium for overtime, safe working conditions and, hopefully, a drug free environment. Are these statutes good or bad for business? That remains to be seen. II. Hypothetical Multi-Issue Essay Question Mr. Quincy Harpie has a problem. As a matter of fact, he has a lot of problems. He is chronically complaining about all sort of illnesses, both actual and perceived. His mother was never proud of him and kicked him out of the house at age thirty-two. Finally Mr. Harpie had to face reality and get a job. He found his first job with Mega Widgets Corporation in Backwater as a crystal widget assembler. Two weeks into the job, he complained of severe backaches and sought worker compensation for his back problems. He was awarded his claim of partial disability and proceeded to stay at home while seeking other employment. 182
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BUSA+Employment+and+Worker+Protection+Laws+(20) -...

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