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Posted on March 16th, 2013, by

Case Study #2
Lis is Patrick’s sister and is the firm’s accountant. Four weeks ago her husband was involved in a rode accident and the police who came to her place of work to tell her took her to the hospital. Unfortunately, two days later, her husband died. Lis has not returned to work and has now received a letter from the firm informing her that, unless she returns immediately she will be dismissed.
In this situation Lis faces a problem when her employer is going to dismiss her unless she returns to her duties immediately. It is known that any employer has his right to dismiss the employees at any time and for any reason as well as the employees have the right to quit at the same conditions if they have at-will employment relationship. At-will employment means that the employee has no contract or agreement which could guarantee a long-term labor relationships according to the Doctrine of Employment at Will. (At-Will Employment 2009)
The above mentioned case shows that Lis violated the terms and conditions of the employment and did not return to her duties.

However, her employer should take into the account that Lis could not fulfill her duties for a legitimate reason the death of her husband. The tragedy that took place in her family is really a legitimate reason. Lis had a severe nervous shock and had no opportunity to go to work. This is a human factor. Some employers can come to terms with their employees who had such tragedies in their families but there are a number of cases when the employers ignore human factor and can easily dismiss their employees.

The situation where Lis has got a stress and cannot return to her duties means that her employer is going to dismiss her for incapacity. Fair reasons of this type of dismissal include ill health of the employee or some physical disabilities.

That is why Lis should consult a doctor and check her health. The doctor will represent the necessary documents which will prove the fact that Lis has some serious problems with her health and should be treated. In this case the employer will have no right to dismiss Lis and the young woman will be able to rehabilitate her health.

It is also known that according to the Convention no.158 of the International Labor Organization it is forbidden to dismiss the employee without any legitimate motive and without giving him the opportunity to defend himself. That is why Lis has a chance to prove her employee that she has a legitimate reason and cannot be dismissed.

One more thing which will help Lis to prevent her dismissal is her membership of the Union. It is known that the members of the Labour Union are not the at-will employees and they cannot be dismissed unfairly. The collective agreements allow dismissals only for just reasons. It is also possible to have grievance procedures if the employee (or employer) does not agree over a dismissal.(Honeyball 2008)

In conclusion, it is necessary to say that the second case discussed in this paper touches upon one of the most important themes in the labor law- the dismissals. Lis who had a tragedy in her family (her husband died after the road accident) is forced to return to her working duties although she had a serious emotional stress. In this case it will be better to go to the hospital and get the document which will help Lis not to be dismissed. The other thing is that the employer does not want to help Lis with her problems. He does not have a human factor that is why the dismissal will be unfair (if Lis proves that she has a legitimate reason for her absence from work).

Bond, J., Galinsky, E., Lord, M., Staines, G., Brown, G.,1991. Beyond the Parental Leave Debate. New York: Families and Law Institute
Honeyball, S., 2008. Employment law. Oxford University Press
Family and Medical Leave Act Regulations: A Report on the Department of Labor’s Request for Information. 28 June 2008. Department of Labor. Employment Standards Administration. Wage and Hour Division. Federal Register. Vol.72. No.124

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