Tuesday, April 11, 2006

At-Will Employment

Some, possibly most, of my friends sympathized with the French rioters protestors to whom the French government recently caved. I didn't, but that's beside the point. The real point is that they maintained that the French were protesting a law that they considered unfair, and that they maintained was not the way we do things here in the states.

The French law in question, of course, was the one that would have "allowed employers to fire workers under the age of 26 at any time during a two-year trial period without giving a reason."

You're right, that's not the way we do things here in the states. Here, all employment (barring a few exceptions) is At-will employment:

At-will employment is an employment relationship in which either party can terminate the relationship at-will with no liability if there was no express contract for a definite term governing the employment relationship.
Yes, there are some exceptions to it, but they're basically common sense ones.

In the context of the protest of (and eventual defeat of) the law in question, this means that maybe we should re-examine just how reasonable these protestors were. While reasonable people can disagree on which is better policy, at the very least we should all be able to agree that these guys flipped out over a proposal far more timid than it could have been and still have been reasonable. After all, the USA doesn't get the largest economy in the world without doing something right economically. Take the whining over there with a grain of salt.

UPDATE: Forgto to add this link. More info on exceptions to the At-Will employment doctrine here.

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