On Donna Ballman's blog, Screw You Guys, I'm Going Home, she
argues for a radical change to at-will employment. She believes that
unemployment hearing officers should have the power to reinstate, with back
pay, anyone fired without just cause:
Most employers can fire you for any reason or no reason
at all.... Then, to add insult to injury, our tax dollars pay for the cost of
unemployment compensation and the side-effects of unemployment, all because
your boss had a hissy fit one day and fired you without just cause.... Every
state in the nation already has a set of hearing examiners or referees who hear
unemployment cases. If the employee is fired for misconduct, they don't get to
collect. But what about the employer who fires without just cause? Why not give
the unemployment hearing officers one more power: the power to reinstate with
I applaud Donna's bravado in arguing for a radical
solution to a problem she perceives. But, is it really a problem at all? In
reality, few employers act on whims of fancy. We can debate what qualifies as
"just cause," but the fact is that few employer fire good employees. It is not
a good business decision for a company to let a good worker go. Good employees
keep their jobs, marginal employees are at risk, and bad employees are fired.
And, when an undeserving employee is fired, there are myriad employment laws to protect their rights from an
Moreover, placing into the hands of unemployment hearing
officers the power to reinstate (with back pay) would cripple workforce
mobility and hiring. If employers face a risk of having overturned all but the
clearest of terminations, they will be reluctant to fire all but worst of
employees. Businesses will be stuck with the middling and marginal, harming
their ability to employ the best and the brightest. Donna's scheme would
therefore result in fewer job opening, which, in turn, would irreparably damage
hiring and create longer periods of unemployment for those searching for work.
Finally, at least in Ohio, the premise that individual
taxpayers foot the bill for employers' whims is faulty. In Ohio, unemployment
by a tax on employers. Employers' tax rates go up and down based on the
number of claims paid (like any other insurance scheme). For 2012, that rate
can be as
high as 9.1%. So, it is in employers' best interests not to fire on
a whim, because the resulting unemployment claim will raise their contribution
rate, resulting in a higher tax. In other words, bad firing decisions hit an
employer where it hurts, the bottom line.
Donna, if you're still convinced that your idea makes
sense, I'll make you a deal. When you agree that we need to adopt my Employer's Bill of Rights, I'll agree that at-will
employment is a dinosaur (and, watch out for the flying pigs).
Visit the Ohio Employer's Law Blog for more
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The post is useful for employees and employers both as well... Thanks for sharing...