This week, we will focus on Agency law and the ability to hold an employer liable for an agent’s actions and, the Employment-at-Will Doctrine and the protections afforded to employees from wrongful termination.
SCENARIO: As a small-business owner, you are faced with rising costs, particularly employment costs, insurance, and the like. You decide to hire Leo, your good friend to save on these costs and insurance. Leo works for 6 months dealing with vendors and buying supplies and inventory for the business. One day at lunch, Leo heads to 7-11 for a Slurpee and befriends the owner, Dan. Leo makes a deal with Dan to sell your product, Widget’s spinners, at the 7-11 in exchange for a free Slurpee every day. The store sells out of Widgets spinners the next day and Dan calls to demand you restock because it is bringing in lots of customers.
Discuss the following:
- Given your understanding of agency law and the three types of authority “relationships” that are created in the workplace between employers and employees. In other words, the authority an employee has from the employer to act on behalf of the employer in the workplace.
- Was Leo authorized to contract with Dan? Why or why not and was Dan a disclosed, parially disclosed or undisclosed principal given your understanding? What is “scope of employment” and how is it applicable? Be sure to explain these terms.
- Identify and explain what an employee-at-will is and the exceptions to firing such an employee given the law’s protections. Research using the NEXIS Legal Database and provide an example lawsuit of a wrongful firing or discharge in violation of the law. Be sure your case is within the last two years. Explain the facts, the parties, their arguments, the law, and the outcome of the case.