Legal Risk and Opportunity

Legal Risk and Opportunity in Employment
In terms of cost and time, an organization’s ability to understand and prevent legal liability is immeasurable. NewCorp is currently mired in three legal encounters. Before deciding to immediately pursue legal advice to resolve the situations, NewCorp has decided to allow Team B to evaluate each encounter and determine NewCorp’s liability. Management has requested that the final evaluation be referenced with case or statutory laws that are relevant to the situations. Only after the results of each assessment will management decide whether to handle the situations internally or request further legal advice.
Legal Encounter One
NewCorp hired Pat as manager of real property in Vermont; this position is responsible for activities related to maintaining leased office space. After being hired, Pat signed an agreement with the understanding that the company observed employment at-will with respect to discharge. However, upon his acceptance of employment, Pat was also given NewCorp’s personnel manual. One section of the manual entitled Notice of Unsatisfactory Performance/ Corrective Action Plan outlined the process for dealing with unsatisfactory employees. After three months, Pat’s boss explained that things were not working out; Pat would be discharged with 30 days of severance pay. Pat was surprised because his employer gave no previous indication of any problems with his performance over the last three months (University of Phoenix, 2010).
At a local school board meeting, Pat spoke out against the unequal allocation of the school’s sports fund and stated that the funds should be dispersed among all sports programs, not just between boys’ football and basketball. After the meeting, Paul observed that NewCorp’s senior management was noticeably unfriendly because his position was unpopular. Although no  
one at the meeting identified Pat as a NewCorp employee, he believed his dissenting opinion contributed to the decision...