Law531 Wk4 Legal Risk and Opportunity-Newcorp

Legal encounter 1:
Pat Grey was hired as a manager by Newcorp and relocated moving his family over 300 miles away. Unexpectedly, Pat was told it was not working out and he would let go with 30 days severance pay. Pay was not advised of any performance problems on the job, so this came as a surprise. Pat was aware he signed an understanding indicating the company observed employment at will, however, Pat was provided a personnel manual which stated the following: “If the job performance of an employee is unsatisfactory, the employee will be notified of the deficiency and placed on a Corrective Action Plan (CAP). If the employee performance does not improve to a satisfactory level within the specified period of time, termination will follow” (University of Phoenix, 1998-2008). pg13).
Employment at will, according to The Free Dictionary is “a common-law rule that an employment contract of indefinite duration can be terminated by either the employer or employee at any time for any reason” (para.1). Pat alleges he is the victim of wrongful termination. Pat feels the power of the at will understanding he signed, is limited due to the provision in the personnel manual which implied the existence of a contract. “Personnel manuals have been held to constitute, both expressly and impliedly, employee contracts, or to become part of the employee contracts when they are given to employees at the outset” (Jennings, 2006, p.727).
To avoid a costly litigation Newcorp could possibly lose, and to avoid the threat of bad publicity, I recommend Newcorp revise the personnel manual to include a waiver indicating the guidelines and policies included in the personnel manual by no means create contract rights. The revised manual should be delivered to every Newcorp employee. Furthermore, I recommend a review of Pat Grey’s performance, and if appropriate place Pat on a corrective action plan. The addition of the waiver in the manual will eliminate any suggestions of implied contract...