Thursday, January 27, 2005

Thoughts On "At Will" Employment # 1

Some recent developments at work have gotten me thinking about the notion of "at will" employment.

Ostensibly, "at will" means both the employee or the employer are free to end their association at any time for any reason. In other words, the company can fire the worker whenever they want, or the worker can quit whenever he desires.

It may be true that both parties are equally able to dissolve their working relationship, but the consequences of doing so are inevitably greater for the employee, especially the low-level, no benefits worker.

The corporation can fire an employee with no notice, no warning and no reason. Though the employee can quit with equal lack of explanation, to argue that "at will" employment puts worker and corporation on equal footing denies the great discrepancy between a worker's resources and the resources of even a small corporation.

For example, most corporate employers have numerous employees and, very likely, even more perspective employees waiting in the wings. They can afford to give the troublemakers a shove. Most workers, however, have only one job they can't afford to lose.

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