Legal Encounter 1Employment at will means that employees work at the discretion of their employers, which means employers may terminate their relationships with employees without notice or cause. Furthermore, an employer may modify its agreement of employment for an at will employee. Pat Grey is a terminated employee for Newcorp who was employed at will.
Recent case law has put restrictions on employment at will as its fallen into disfavor because employees rely on the presumption that they have a basic job security provided to them through promises, procedures and policies that align with what is written in their employee handbooks. The legal principle that supports this presumption is called implied contract and stems from a trend that employers give the impression of job security. Employers are being held accountable for their implied contract of employment as courts are looking to prevent employers from disregarding their commitments at random.
In the case of Dillion versus Champion Jogbra, Ms.
Dillion sued for wrongful termination, claiming breach of contract and promissory estoppel. Jogbra sent mixed messages to Ms. Dillon with written disciplinary procedures. Jogbra ignored these procedures with Ms. Dillion and as such, Ms. Dillon failed to realize the full extent of jeopardy that her job was in. Having said this, a policy that expressly leaves the disciplinary process to the employer's discretion does not create enforceable promise to terminate for cause.
Based on this information, ambiguity in the personnel manual may lead to inconsistencies with employment at will and may be grounds for litigation. Newcorp must review its personnel manual to ensure that language is consistent with employment at will. Pat Grey may have grounds for wrongful termination if he can establish a claim for promissory estoppel if he can show that Newcorp was in breach of a specific promise it...