Even under an “at-will” contract, are employers required to conduct an investigation before firing an employee for misconduct?
Short answer: unless an employer’s policies require an internal investigation, the employer does NOT have to investigate before discharging an at-will employee.
The Alaska Supreme Court recently held that the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, an exception to the employment-at-will rule, does not require an employer to conduct an investigation before terminating an employee. The court suggested that the result would have been different if the employer’s policies required it to investigate allegations before filing an employee for misconduct. If there is no such requirement in the employer’s employee handbook, then the employer does not have such responsibility and can terminate at will.
PRACTICAL ADVISE: although these cases clarify that employees are not required to investigate before at-will employees, you are advised to investigate before making a termination decision. Furthermore, an investigation might reveal facts that support claims such as unlawful retaliation or discrimination which could be damaging to the employer. By conducting an investigation, you will be taking the best legal course of action.
A tipster told reporters that he “spent like a minute trying to get the perfect selfie — with flash, without, adjusting his tie, changing the angle. His selfie diligence was impressive! It was quite amusing!”
Where is the most awkward location you have seen people take a selfie at? Let us know!
In a decision that could reshape rules for online consumer reviews of products and businesses, a Virginia court has ruled that Yelp critics must be identified. The court found that critic comments are not protected First Amendment opinions if the Yelp users were not customers and thus making false claims.
This decision could curtail peer reviewed sites such as Yelp offering anonymous reviews on their site. Do you find this to be fair and reasonable? Let us know!