While employee-employer relationships are considered to be “at will” throughout the United States, with the exception of Montana, the concept of employment at will remains one of the most misunderstood terms in employment law today.I recently had a conversation with an employer who wished to terminate one of their employees who had a long history of poor performance and problematic behavior. However the problem in this particular case (as is the problem in many cases) is that nothing had been documented and she had never been formally addressed about the issues. In fact, her performance reviews ranged from fair to good.As we discussed how to move forward with this employee in the absence of any and all documentation to substantiate her termination, the manager asked “Can’t we just fire her? Our handbook says we operate under employment at will. Let’s just fire her and not get into the details.” Technically, yes, this is true. However, employment at will rarely makes a good termination defense.While it’s simple in theory, it’s just not that simple in practice. Precaution must still prevail. Many managers feel that since their employees are under at will employment they may fire them whenever they feel like it. There is more to it than that, and this misunderstanding is where many employers get in trouble.So, What is Employment At Will?Employment At Will – Both the employer and the employee are entering the relationship by mutual agreement, but that either can end the relationship at either time without mutual consent. The employer can terminate the employee at any time for any reason, except an illegal one, or for no reason, without incurring legal liability. Similarly, an employee can leave a job at any time for any or no reason without adverse legal consequences.That’s the legal low down. However, like with anything else, there are caveats and exceptions to this rule. It’s different for every company.1) The number one exception when determining what is employment at will for your company is contracts. Union contracts typically come to mind, however, contracts may exist between employers and employees in any environment.There are also what are considered common law exceptions to employment at will. These are public policy, implied contract, and implied covenant of good faith. The interpretation of these in real life situations will usually fall under the “illegal reasons” why you can’t terminate someone, but often in a shady area of gray. Also, while it is important to be aware of these exceptions, it is also important to be aware that they are not all recognized in every state. Of course, since so much is left up to interpretation, much depends on how well a good attorney can swing a jury.Here are the common law exceptions:2) Public Policy: This exception assumes that employees should be protected against termination for actions that are in the best interests of the public. For instance:a) Refusing to perform an illegal act for the employer.b) Reporting an illegal act by the employer.c) Engaging in acts that are in the public interest (such as serving on jury duty or enlisting in the military.)d) Exercising a statutory right (such as filing for workers’ compensation benefits.)3) Implied Contract: An implied contract of employment is one that is not written and not specific between the employer and the employee. An example would be a supervisor telling an employee “As long as you keep up the good work, you’ve got a job here for life”, or even an employee handbook that guaranteed progressive discipline in every circumstance.Even in states where an implied contract is recognized, courts are slow to honor them during termination in absence of an actual written contract. However, the fact that there is the common understanding that an “implied contract” exception exists should be enough to motivate you to caution your managers to be diligent in what they express to employees. Likewise, your employee discipline policy should state that progressive discipline is not guaranteed and that, depending on the nature and severity of the incident, discipline may be escalated accordingly.4) Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing: There are a few states that recognize an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. An exact definition is difficult as interpretations of bad faith have depended upon judicial interpretations. Examples of bad faith would include: firing an older employee prior to retirement to avoid paying retirement benefits, firing an employee right after relocating them to a new state, or firing a sales person just before a large commission payment or bonus was to be paid.5) Finally, let’s remember one of our number one rules for everything when it comes to dealing with employees: Let’s not do it or say it if we couldn’t defend it. If you can’t imagine yourself sitting in front of a jury and sticking with the “at will” defense to see how long it held against accusations of wrongful termination, discrimination, and other crimes against employees, then it’s best to follow Montana’s lead and terminate only for good cause.
Corporate health screenings are a growing trend for companies seeking ways to reduce expenditures and provide a better quality of health for employees. By encouraging and maintaining the wellness of workers, the possibility of preventing potential health problems increases, which can result in lowering medicals costs associated with treating a condition in its advanced stage. Implementing preventive health care programs that include regular health screenings, immunizations and education is the first line of defense against health problems and rising health expenditures for businesses.Chronic illnesses and health conditions can decrease employee productivity and increase absenteeism and presenteeism, which greatly impacts a company’s bottom line. In fact, The Human Resources Policy Association puts the annual cost of reduced productivity for businesses between $87 and $127 billion. Diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol and complications from obesity are listed by The Center for Disease Control as illnesses most commonly uncovered during health screenings. If undetected and left untreated, problems resulting from these conditions can disrupt every aspect of an employee’s life, including productivity in the workplace.”Preventive health care is an efficient and effective method of identifying and treating possible health conditions before they have the opportunity to develop or worsen,” says Dr. Jeffrey Greiff, founder of Flu Busters, a third-party provider of on-site preventive health care for businesses. “When a potential health condition is diagnosed in its early stages, it can be easily remedied and can prevent more serious conditions, resulting in a much healthier patient over time.”An Employer Health Benefits Survey found from 2002 to 2007, health insurance premiums for businesses increased approximately five times faster than inflation and four times faster than wage growth. As health insurance premiums continue to increase throughout the 2008 – 2009 fiscal year, analysts believe health care costs are a threat to the financial success of American businesses. Businesses are discovering the economic benefits of preventing and identifying employee health problems before they become serious ailments by offering annual on-site health screenings that improve and protect employees’ current and future state of health.A common deterrent for employees against receiving health screenings and immunization by a primary care physician is that the medical services can interrupt an employee’s busy day resulting in wasted time and energy. Third-party health care providers are gaining popularity in the business world due to their ability to provide on-site services to companies of any size. So, how does it work?Health screenings are available to companies of all sizes and can be provided on-site by a team of experienced health professionals. Prior to a health screening, information sheets are provided to make recommendations on what screenings would be most beneficial for an employee based on individual circumstances, such as, age, sex and family history. The actual screening takes only minutes and employees receive most screening results within minutes of the actual screening. A post-screening consultation with a registered health professional, as well as an online customized wellness program is offered to address any existing or potential health issues that may have been uncovered in the screening. From the initial screening to the post-screening consultation phase, the screening participants are actively assisted in developing solutions that will enable them to lead healthier, more productive and fulfilling lives.Even through economic hardships, businesses can still provide employees with quality health care by focusing on prevention. Routine health screenings and immunizations can identify and prevent illnesses, resulting in healthier employees, lower insurance premiums, increased productivity and decreased absenteeism. Businesses that establish a comprehensive wellness plan are investing in their employees, and ultimately, the company’s success.
Natural health can be maintained and retained if we follow some basic principles of natural health care. These basic principles of natural health care are not difficult or cumbersome to follow but they require a strong will power. These simple principles of natural health care must be adopted before our body looses its healthy status. If we can’t follow these common principles of natural health care now, then it won’t be possible in future especially when some serious illness strikes us.Our modern lifestyle is today the biggest enemy of our health and wellness. Today we have developed a social structure which is unhealthy not only for the society but also for natural health of our body and mind. Three common well-known principles of natural health care are given below which are seldom followed in today’s modern life. These 3 simple looking natural health care principles are actually very powerful and can be responsible for a number of health problems which we may not be aware of.1. Making A Natural Sleeping Pattern for Health Care and Wellness: Sleeping as per the law of nature can have a number of positive effects on our health and wellness. Clock of our body system (or microprocessor) is naturally configured to nature’s clock i.e. at night our body tends to rest or sleep and during the day after sunrise our body is automatically configured to work. Today our unhealthy lifestyle tends to artificially reconfigure this natural clock within the body. Our modern habits of un-natural sleeping patterns are responsible for disturbed sleeps or sleeping disorders to a great extent.2. Avoid Un-natural and Unhealthy Eating Patterns for Health and Wellness: Our eating habits have also changed with time. I’ll not be discussing poor nutrition and poor and unhealthy quality of food that we eat today, in this article. Today we eat food without a natural urge or appetite for eating, we eat because we want to eat or its time to eat or because we need to provide some nutrition/fuel to our body. Even if the quality of food that we eat is best and organically produced, requirement of our body today in modern lifestyle are not same as they used to be. Today eating more doesn’t mean getting healthier but just opposite is true for health and wellness.Today we fill our body engine (body system) with fuel(food/meal) at the time when it isn’t asking for and the fuel that we provide our body system with isn’t the right fuel for its health and wellness. Its like feeding a petrol engine with coal. Thanks God, that our body isn’t an ordinary man made machine but a wonder machine by nature.3. Unnatural Over-protection and Over-comfort Keeps Natural Health Care System at Bay : Today we protect ourself not only from natural but also from society and social activities un-naturally. We exceed our comfort levels from natural to un-natural, the level of comfort that we enjoy today is actually un-comfortable for our body system to work in. This healthy looking and good feeling over-protection has led to under-protection of our natural body system. We are forcing our body to work in dual mode sometimes naturally when we move outside our over-protection cover and un-naturally when we stay within our over-protected comfort zone. This may look lighter but it has a serious consequence on natural health care system within our body. Today our body begs to leave dependence on its natural resistance power and seek modern medical help which gives right treatment not only to our body but also to the soul actually responsible for this under-protected over-protection.These were three basic principles of natural health care, that I’ve discussed here to show how we have ourself willingly compromised simple principles of natural health care to complex lifestyle of risked natural health and wellness.