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UTILITARIANISM AND EMPLOYMENT AT WILL

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Considers how employment at will fits into the utilitarianism approach to ethics.... More...
3 Pages / 675 Words
2 sources, 2 Citations, MLA Format
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Paper Abstract:
Considers how employment at will fits into the utilitarianism approach to ethics. Explains the ramifications of employment at will for employee and employer, and concludes that when viewed from the perspective of the employer, employment at will contract meets the standard of utilitarianism.

Paper Introduction:
Utilitarianism and Employment at Will Introduction Many states are now employment-at-will states meaning that theemployment contract can be severed by either party-the employer or theemployee-with no reason and with little or no notice This assumes ofcourse that the reason for dismissal is not in conflict with other stateor federal guidelines regarding discrimination or other unfair practices At the same time the utilitarian approach to ethics maintains thatindividuals should behave so as to maximize their utility-happiness-as wellas to maximize the greatest amount of

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If the company does not have the ability toterminate employees, the argument goes, it will be less flexible than itscompetition and less able to adapt to changing environmental conditions.This, in turn, could put the entire company at risk and endanger theutility not only of the employees, but also shareholders and customers. McGraw-Hill. Employers argue that they need to be able to terminate employees whenthe market changes and different skill sets are needed, or when the companyneeds to reduce its costs. This research considers the employment at willcontract in terms of utilitarian principles. In addition, those employees whoremain at the organization may find that their morale suffers as they tryto make up for the dismissed employees' productivity (Newton & Ford, 2 5). If the employee is doing his or her job well, and thecompany is not losing money, this argument maintains that the employmentcontract should remain in force rather than putting the employee and theirfamily at financial risk. IndyPublish.com.Newton, L., & Ford, M. Taking Sides. In addition, thenegative effect on other employees at the organization should be taken intoaccount when considering the overall utility of this question. This, coupled withpossible pension payouts, makes older workers a target for dismissal underemployment-at-will. Just as the employer can argue that more thanjust a few people are affected by the inability to dismiss at will, so theemployee could argue that mortgages might go unpaid, that children couldend up not being able to go to college, and so forth. This assumes, ofcourse, that the reason for dismissal is not in conflict with other stateor federal guidelines regarding discrimination or other unfair practices.At the same time, the utilitarian approach to ethics maintains thatindividuals should behave so as to maximize their utility-happiness-as wellas to maximize the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest number ofpeople (Mill, 2 5). Employees, on the other hand, maintain that companies use theemployment-at-will option as a way to reduce costs simply to maximizeprofit, not for the long-term good of the company. Employees may feel thatas they approach retirement age, they receive higher salaries than ayounger person doing the same job due to seniority. Analysis Employment at will gives either party to the employment contract theright to terminate the contract without a specific reason and with littleor no notice. This generallycauses a hardship for the employer; indeed, even when notice is given, theemployer may be forced to hire a temporary worker who is not as productiveas the employee who is leaving. When done for reasons that are intended to maximizeprofit rather than "save" the company, employment at will does not meet themeasure of utilitarianism. (2 5). However, theemployer can also dismiss employees without notice (assuming that no otherlaws are violated). Faced with the option of saving the company or keeping everyoneemployed, few would argue against saving the company. In addition, the employer incurs someamount of cost when recruiting and hiring for the job. Utilitarianism and Employment at Will Introduction Many states are now employment-at-will states, meaning that theemployment contract can be severed by either party-the employer or theemployee-with no reason and with little or no notice. However, companiesmay well use the employment at will contract as a way to eliminate high-paid senior employees who have been loyal to the organization. An employee can decide that they do not want to work at aparticular company and leave with no notice, for example. S. Conclusion It can be argued that the employment at will contract does indeed meetthe standard of utilitarianism when viewed from the perspective of theemployer. Utilitarianism. (2 5). This can cause significant hardship to those employeeswho are terminated since they may face financial difficulty as well aspsychological trauma from the dismissal. ReferencesMill, J. The companyloses the institutional memory that these employees have, morale suffers,there is financial hardship involved, and the overall utility may well beless than otherwise.

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