Famous Cases of Wrongful Termination



























Ginny Edwards’ article Famous Cases of Wrongful Termination is a publication that reviews the ‘at will’ article encompassed in employment contracts and its proper application to overcome the problem of contract breach. Edwards lays a foundation for the discussion by the assertion that the highlighted clause has acted as a significant point of contract misconceptions with employers being most affected with their dismissal that the element offers unlimited protection rights due to employees only. To review this erroneous perspective, the author offers a systematic discussion that underscores three contractual elements that offer employee protection against illegal termination. The ‘at will’ article in contracts states that work termination may be effected by either the employer of the worker regardless of the stipulated period accorded to the agreement. This serves as the literal meaning of the article as no form of coercion should exist within the working environment. However, proper termination channels should be upheld to ensure the legality of the process. Edwards’ article identifies several requirements for legal employment termination concerning contracts. If the decision is effected by the employer, the affected employee has to be recompensed for the immature termination if the cause of job dissolution is not pegged to indiscipline activities or any other probable cause. Inversely, if the employee decides to leave the workplace, no form of compensation is required. Payments are only processed up to the last working day. The legality of contracts is governed by federal statutes and a contravention of either offers an opportunity for lawful sues on the position of contract breach. Both the employer and the employee are mandated into the offering a substantial notice period before decision implementation. Edwards’ premises acquire credibility from the court case references highlighted in the discussion as pragmatic indications of contractual law representations. The initial case study used in the article illustrates job termination based on an improbable cause between Sandy Baratta and her employer, Global Alliance in the year 2000. Baratta had been holding the position of vice president with an annual salary of $350,000. Her termination as ascertained by the San Francisco law courts ascertained the reliability of the information that her termination had been effected after Baratta had placed a legal complaint against her employer’s unethical behavior in duplicating software programs from the Oracle Software Company. Baratta was awarded $2.5 million as a reparation package for the illegal termination and the emotional trouble caused on her pregnancy. A more recent case noted in the period 2007 between Gary Aguirre and his employer Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) parallels Baratta’s scenario with the issue identified as improbable cause effected by Aguirre’s move to examine a corrupt deal from one of SECs clients. Aguirre had been barred by the employer from his examination and immediately accorded a job termination. Aguirre presented the information to the Merit Systems Protection Board a legal case handler where he won the case. The employer was charges with unlawful termination and required to reimburse Aguirre’s salary in full scale since the date of his termination to the period in which the case had been awarded. The settlement charges were given as $755,000 covering the four years and ten months period that the case had been handled. The last case study given in the discussion reviews the case of John Guz and his employer Bechtel Corp. Gus had worked with the named corporation for more than twelve years before being dismissed on the assertion that the company needed to reduce production costs. Guz was granted the case by California courts though an appeal filed with the California courts of appellate ruled in favor of the employer by claiming that Guz had not been dismissed as a person but rather a whole department had due to structural changes. This case therefore offers a balance in the discussion as it favors the employer as opposed to the two former ones that reviewed employee related cases.



Edwards, G. (2010). Famous Cases of Wrongful Termination. Retrieved from http://www.brighthub.com/office/career-planning/articles/82319.aspx

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