Categorized | Marquette, Opinion

Employment-at-will Must Stay Law

Posted on 01 June 2012 by Sam Kinney

An employee of a company does something on the job that management does not approve of. He cannot be fired because the government says so. He takes his job for granted while thousands of unemployed Americans would love to have it. Seems kind of wrong doesn’t it? The United States is the only nation with an Employment-at-will law. It states that employees can be fired “for good cause, or bad cause, or no cause at all.” With it, employees and unions cannot take advantage of their employers. If a company feels the need to let an employee go, they should be allowed to.

Several weeks ago, Ron Mulvaney held a small press conference for journalism students in Johnston Hall. His goal is to end employment-at-will, a law that – in his mind – allows discrimination to workers and the unemployed alike. It doesn’t. That law allows businesses to do what they need to so they can make a profit. Why did countless American businesses leave for China? They had to compete with the rest of the world. By moving, their expenses went down and profits up. There was no discrimination against the American worker, we are just too expensive.

Mulvaney, 1960 graduate of Marquette’s School of Journalism, said he was honored to speak to students at his alma mater. He has held many journalistic jobs and is very experienced in his field. In spite of experience, he is currently a part-time employee at a local Boston Store. He claims that he is a victim of employment-at-will.

“This is a toxic law, it’s poison, it kills, it murders,” Mulvaney said.

However, employment-at-will is necessary. Without it, businesses are limited to more government regulation and therefore a further loss of freedom. If businesses are not allowed to give employees the pink slip then employees can do as they please. Businesses then lose money and cannot make all of their necessary payments and then ultimately go out of business.

Say a law is passed making it so businesses cannot fire employees – that is almost what Mulvaney is pushing for. Then lazy employees do not have to work at all but still get paid. It would lead to no one working and the end of American power as we know it. Obviously Mulvaney’s views are not that extreme but he never made it clear as to how far he would like this law to be repealed.

Repealing employment-at-will would lead to a loss of individual liberty and it would do nothing but further hurt our economy and lead Americans to be unmotivated to work. Not wanting to work but still get a pay check, sounds a lot like a socialist agenda. Socialism will only push the United States backwards.

“Mulvaney is very passionate about what he believes in, he has yet to give up,” said Eva Sotomayor, a freshman in the College of Communication. He wants to end employment-at-will because he says that it leaves six million people chronically unemployed every year.

He may be correct that this law leads some to be chronically unemployed but not everyone that is unemployed has to be. Yes the economy has not been great the last few years but it is not that bad that people cannot find work anywhere. Fast-food establishments are always hiring, yes they are not the best of jobs but it is work and their employees still make money. Instead of staying unemployed and blaming others for it, why don’t people do something about it?

Mulvaney pushed the AARP to help him in fighting this law. For a time they did show him support but eventually it faded. This was because the AARP focuses on social security and Medicaid, not so much on worker’s rights. Also, the AARP did not want to lose support from businesses. If Mulvaney’s movement to end employment-at-will becomes successful, then businesses would lose a lot of money and power over their employees.

His main struggle is that there is little support to end this law. Few people even recognize it as an issue, he said. He implored the journalism students to investigate, and to be interactive. There is a reason he has little support in fighting this law, because he is simply wrong! Anyone with half a brain can tell you businesses need certain freedoms to survive, being able to fire unnecessary employees is one of those freedoms.

A student asked Mulvaney why the upper class has not noticed the problems with employment-at-will. He responded by saying that people that have jobs don’t notice those that don’t, because they are too concerned with their own lives. He is correct but the more fortunate also understand that there are jobs out there right now, many of the unemployed are not looking hard enough. One can only “feel bad” for others for so long. It gets to a point that where the individual must help himself and not rely on others to do it for them.

Now there are some that are trying to find work but are unsuccessful which is a shame. But many free ride off hard working taxpayers – again socialism, the rich helping the poor. How can the United States maintain our power over the world when we live in an entitlement society? It is not possible.

Mulvaney’s efforts are admirable in stopping employment-at-will but he is misinformed. Businesses need economic freedom in order to grow and compete. One of those freedoms includes the right to release unnecessary employees. This country was founded on the ideas of economic liberty and it seems that every year, we are slowly losing those freedoms. Employment-at-will must stay law.

Sam Kinney

[email protected]

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