The Law at Work: Could a Progressive Discipline Policy Undermine an Employer’s Right to Fire at Will?
Most employee handbooks say that employment is at-will. However, they may also state that behavioral or performance problems will be addressed through progressive discipline. In a case involving a long-term Barnes & Noble store manager, the California court of appeal recently ruled that an employer may actually give up its right to terminate employment at will by having its managers consistently administer progressive discipline before any termination, especially when dealing with a long-term employee. In his The Law at Work column in the San Diego Union-Tribune, SCMV Shareholder Dan Eaton explains the court’s ruling and how employers should consider adjusting their policies to avoid a similar outcome.
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