Kathrine Granbury Questions Presented Was the relationship between Ms. Granbury and her employer changed by the circumstances? 1. Can the Ms. Granbury claim illegal discharge from her employment through a citation of breach of an implied contract? 2. Can Ms. Granbury claim unfair (discriminatory) treatment of her discharge case by the company’s personnel committee? Brief Answers The relationship between Ms. Granbury and her employer changed following the interpretation of handbook. 1. Ms. Granbury can claim illegal discharge through citing breach of an implied contract.
The handbook lists a number of grounds on which an employees’ employment may be terminated. It is clearly stipulated in the handbook that an employment may not be terminated without good cause. The handbook continues to highlight some of the factors that comprise good causes for the termination of employment. 2. She can also claim discriminatory treatment by the company’s personnel committee. The handbook also gives a procedure that is to be followed by employees wishing to appeal for their discharge.
This procedure, as the handbook states, is applicable to all the employees who wish to have their cases reviewed. With her employer constantly referring to the handbook as a contract from which employees should refer to for guidance through their employment at the company, their duties and responsibilities, an implied contract was created. This implied contract outlines terms that Ms. Granbury and the other employers have worked under, therefore, changed the relationship between her and her employer.
Statement of facts Ms. Granbury was employed at Architronics for an unspecified term of employment. The agreement between her and her employer was not specified in a written contract. She began work upon an agreement on her wage per hour on specified duties. Upon employment, Ms. Granbury was given a handbook that was given to all other employees. The handbook was given by her supervisor, who constantly referred to it as their contract. This handbook, according to the supervisor, was meant to guide the employees through the terms of their services at the company.
A number of regulations were outlined in the book and were meant to be followed by the employees at the company. In the handbook, there were guidelines on how employees could use the company services, the official company schedules regarding employee vacation, and how to use the office space. The handbook also spelt out the conditions under which an employee’s employment may be terminated. It stated that no employee shall be discharged without a good cause.
It then proceeded to outline the elements that make up a good cause for the discharge of an employee, listing factors such as: i. Failure to log in and out of the billing system, where it is outlined that Repeated failure to log in and out of the system will result in the termination of employment. ii. Any difficulty to log into the system or any case of malfunction should be reported to the supervisors immediately iii. A request for review of employment termination must be made to the personnel committee within a period of ten days from the day of discharge iv. The personnel committee must give their verdict within a week of the reporting During the second week of August, Ms. Granbury, having been away for the in the first week of the month due to illness, returned to work but was discharged.
The reason for her discharge was failing to log in and out of her computer. According to Ms. Granbury, the failure was a once occurrence and had never happened before. Following her return to work after the period of absence, Ms. Granbury found that the log in procedure had been changed and that the previous one had malfunctioned. Her discharge, as she was notified, was in line with the III. A. 5 of the handbook. Ms. Granbury made a request to the personnel committee for a review of her case within the week.
However, the committee did not take up her request. To the best of Ms. Granbury’s knowledge and statements of corroboration from the employees, the committee has never been reported as having refused to take up a request for review of employee’s termination case. She even cites another case in which an employee, having committed ten billing procedure infractions, had his employment terminated. Discussion Ms. Granbury can successfully file for a lawsuit against the company for the termination of her employment.
It is worth noting that the relationship between her and her employer changed with the circumstances under which she was working. According to (Muhl 2001), the State of Texas endorses an employment-at-will doctrine, allowing the employers or employees to terminate the employment without a cause. However, the statements, in an employer’s letter, that constitute an implied contract are binding according to the law. It is provided that a disclaimer should be included in handbooks and employment letters to clarify that the employment is an at-will employment.
This provision is meant to ensure that the employees recognize the employment as such and understand that the employer or themselves reserve the right to end the employment without cause. The main issue of focus in this case is on the factors that influenced a change in the relationship between Ms. Granbury and her employer. From the case facts, it is evident that no disclaimer is cited in the handbook. This provides grounds for claims of an implied contract, whereby the terms of employment (or termination of employment) are spelt out in the handbook and should be followed as listed.
In this case, the legally endorsed factors that change the nature of relationship between Ms. Granbury and her employer include: 1. Failure to include a disclaimer in the handbook, that states that the employment is an at-will employment and that the employees and the employer should recognize it as such. This would mean that both parties in the agreement reserve the right to pull out without cause. 2. The handbook gave guidelines that governed the relationship between the employees and the employer (Muhl 2001). The provisions in the handbook guided the treatment of other cases of the same nature.
Similarly, equal treatment of the employees in line with the company’s regulations determined the nature of relationship between the employer and Ms. Granbury, see Aiello vs United Air Lines, Inc. , 818 F. 2d 1196 (1987). Yet another factor that guides the determination of the legal standing between Ms. Granbury and her employer is the nature of treatment of the employees at the company as guided by the employment handbook. If it can be verified, with supporting evidence, that every other employee who has filed for review of a case of termination at the company has had their case taken up, then according to Aiello vs United Air Lines, Inc. Ms. Granbury can evidence an implied change in the relationship between herself and the employer.
In this case, a case of discriminative termination can hold in court. The elements in this case include the fact that the nature of Ms. Granbury’s employment is an at-will employment. From the case facts, she worked under conditions spelt out in an employee handbook. While the state of Texas has no implied contract exceptions for at-will employment agreements, the legal principle is that all employers should include a disclaimer in the employment letters and the handbooks guiding the employees.
This disclaimer was not included, making the handbook a binding implied contract. In citing Aiello vs United Air Lines, Inc. , 818 F. 2d 1196 (1987), the court referenced another case, concluding that a handbook without terms that constitute a cause for termination of contract do not make up an implied contract. However, in Ms. Granbury’s case, the terms constituting a cause for termination of employment are clearly outlined. Moreover, these terms are applied on every other employee at the company and therefore influence a change in the nature of relationship between Ms.
Granbury and her employer. In Aiello vs United Air Lines, Inc. , the court of appeal, following the previous ruling in favor of the Aiello (the plaintiff), held that the appellee had been wrongly discharged. This was inconsideration of the fact that another employee, under similar circumstances, had not been discharged. In Ms. Granbury’s case, the fact that the personnel committee had granted other employees a chance for review meant a specific way of treatment that should have been the same for all the company’s employees.
From the case facts and the main principles ffiliated with the case, it is evident that a claim of illegal dismissal on the grounds of breach of an implied contract may hold in court. An argument of legal dismissal, therefore, may not hold given the availability of the implied contract (employee handbook). Secondly, the handbook offers guidelines for the factors that constitute equal treatment for employees at the company. Proving that the personnel committee, over the past, has taken up cases of dismissal of other employees for review would help justify claims of discriminative treatment, which would amount to unfair termination of employment.
This would constitute a strong argument that would amount in Ms. Granbury being awarded restitution for the damages caused by the dismissal. A contrary argument that the company may level is that the state law does not recognize implied contract as an exception to an at-will employment, neither does it recognize a covenant of good faith or a public policy exception. In the event that the case is filed, the defense may argue that the courts in Texas have always held that employment for an unspecified period may be ended at will.
This argument is backed in the dissenting opinion in Aiello vs United Air Lines, Inc. 818 F. 2d 1196 (1987) In this case, the judge quotes East line & RRR Co. Vs Scott and 72 Tex. 70,75 10, S. W. 99, 102 (1888). Yet another case cited in the Aiello vs United Air Lines, Inc. , 818 F. 2d 1196 (1987) case, is the Joachim v. A&T Information Sys. , where the court ruled against the plaintiff following claims of discriminatory dismissal. The court in this case held that despite the provision that the company shall not terminate employment based on sexual preferences, the implied contract was not binding according to Texas law.
However, Texas law provides that a disclaimer must be included in the handbook to ensure clarity regarding the nature of employment. This position, therefore, may be countered. Conclusion The state of Texas does not provide for a claim of illegal discharge for at-will employment. However, the court provides that implied contracts arising from promises made in appointment letters or employee handbook be held. It is provided that companies should include disclaimers in such documents to ensure that the employment is recognized as atwill employment.
It is also provided that handbooks with terms determining the conditions under which employment can be terminated hold as implied contracts. The facts of this case, as analyzed, provide a clear basis for claims of unjust treatment and termination of employment. The possible counterarguments by the company include claim of lack of a binding contract, which would make the termination legal. However, this can be countered by the availability of the handbook and its use in regulating the activities of all the employees at the company.