by Timothy Page
A Senate bill introduced on March 15 would eliminate at-will termination, and protect employees’ voting rights and free speech.
S.130 would “provide two hours of paid leave so that employees may vote in primary and general elections and on Town Meeting Day. The bill also proposes to establish a good cause standard for termination of employment, to prohibit employers from taking adverse actions against an employee because of the employee’s exercise of free speech rights, and to prohibit employers from inquiring about employment status on a job application or interfering with an employee’s efforts to seek employment with another employer. This bill further proposes to make interference with an employee’s efforts to seek employment with another employer an unfair labor practice for public employers.”
The bill was sponsored by Sen. Irene Wrenner (D-Essex) and referred to the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs.
It has not been mentioned how this will make the hiring of new employees even more difficult to navigate. Not being able to get rid of a bad employee as easily could make employers less likely to give a chance to applicants with a less-than-perfect history. The intention of this bill is laudable, but the side-effects may negate the benefits.
I would have added this to the bill blurb, but the article’s goal is to inform, not to opine.
I just left my job of 42 years last year, retiring before my target date. At this point you pretty much have to murder someone to get fired these days. When I left, the standard had pretty much become: “they’re breathing, sometimes they’re here on time and sometimes don’t call in sick and aren’t high too often”. I wouldn’t worry about employers letting people go at will in the current hiring market.
I would agree if I hadn’t seen it happen to people (including myself). In one case the employee was terminated to intimidate another one who the regional manager was harassing. In another case a national company used Vermont as the place to save money by getting rid of their senior non-management staff (hiring new people at minimum wage).
Mr. Page: As I opined in a previous comment that was curiously deleted:
“… the primary point of ‘At Will’ employment is that, in the absence of an explicit contract, not only can an employer terminate a relationship at any time, so too can the employee quit at any time. Limit one. Limit both.”
Re: “In another case a national company used Vermont as the place to save money by getting rid of their senior non-management staff (hiring new people at minimum wage).”
‘National Company’? Like the VT NEA (teacher’s union) ‘getting rid of’ tenured teachers by offerring generous buyouts and early retirement in order to hire lower paid new teachers?
I’m forever impressed by the hubris of those who think they can read the minds of others based on limited anecdotal experiences.
Have you ever employed many people?
So the terminated employees of the Randolph high school, and the cheif of police for Norwich, should get their jobs back. They merely excersied their freedom of speech.
Used ‘properly’?…. are you kidding? Define ‘proper’.
S.130 currently states that:
“It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer to discharge an employee for other than good cause shown.
“Good cause” does not include reasons for discharge that are trivial, arbitrary, capricious, or otherwise unrelated to a legitimate business reason.
Do you think the people writing this bill would have given any credence to what the Randolph high school employee and the chief of Norwich police said? or meant to say? What, or who, defines Trivial? Arbitrary? Capricious? Or what an otherwise unrelated to a legitimate business reason is?
It is this bill that is arbitrary and capricious. And it in no way reflects an expression of legitimate business practices. If this bill, or anything like it, becomes ‘law’ (and I use that term in the loosest of contexts), private sector employment opportunities in Vermont will decline precipitously.
…and the two recently-resigned State Troopers who dared to make comments online, that some sensitivity-gifted person deemed to be racist…
No. They’re under suspicion of being conservative, so they’d need to hire lawyers and file lawsuits.
Hope the paid time off also covers the non citizens voting so we can add to the overall benefit of just being here.
What exactly does Fired at Will mean? If you don’t show up at work for a week without calling in? If you stand around on your cell phone for hours during the day texting? If you come in high? If you smoke a joint in the bathroom on company time?
In a period of time when you can’t find workers it really makes sense to tie the employers hands even further. It sounds like someone should have thought this through a little longer!
Mr. Page: At Will employment is a two-way street. ‘Good cause’ can simply mean that there is a personality conflict that adversely affects the employer or the employee.
And we already have seven labor relations acts in Vermont that regulate the labor practices of both an employer and an employee. S.130 is not only arbitrary and capricious, its redundant and confusing.
But the primary point of ‘At Will’ employment is that, in the absence of an explicit contract, not only can an employer terminate a relationship at any time, so too can the employee quit at any time.
Limit one. Limit both.
What would you recommend?
Does it include State employees. Does it bypass the all but hardwired teachers union? What about State contractors? Most times people fire for a good cause, unless they work for the state or in some cases the various unions that populate this state.
I would be inclined to see a Right to Work law. That will do more to hold on to worthwhile employees. Only the state has the ability to fire and get away with discrimination, I have seen it happen.
At will employment allows all kinds of discrimination problems that unless you have a deep pocket like the state you are going to be stuck with deadbeats and “problem “employees. Today with At Will, If they rattle the status quo you can be cut loose even if you did nothing wrong. With at will you could show up to work smelling like a cow and get fired, if you complain you can get fired for being discriminated against. This will make it harder to prove discrimination based on anything but especially race and political affiliation.
Lets look at it this way. In Vermont the easiest way to get fired is to be honest and not white, but also not progressive or liberal. None of this will be addressed and will not be stopping any time soon. A whistleblower in Vermont is defenseless as well as any and most Blacks and brown people who speak proper English and understand the language, so it is harder to be taken advantage of.
This law will be another avenue for the state and others like them to make a list of people who are non conforming to the cult of the progressives causing unemployment and even the eradication of what are deemed by the state as undesirable. On its face is discriminatory and is redundant.
H. Jay Eshelman on Video: S.130: The end of at-will termination?
H. Jay Eshelman on Video: S.130: The end of at-will termination?
Where are these comments?
So every business around the state has to close from say 10am to noon ( typical start time for Town Meeting day + 2hrs) every first Tuesday in March so the employees can go vote at Town meeting?? No, they don’t have to close you say, just let their employees leave. So who is covering for them? Other than essential in- person services, a good portion of folks get that day off anyway and still DO NOT go to Town meetings. As far as general elections go #1. You can request an absentee ballot weeks in advance and vote at home in your jammies at 2am if you like, and #2. if you INSIST on going in person on voting day, you seriously can’t get there between 10am( some towns even earlier) to 7pm?? If voting is important to you, you figure it out, period. Vermont has the easiest methods possible for voting options. This Bill is ridiculous. I feel for anybody who owns a business and has to figure out the logistics of this for the employees who will certainly abuse it and take two hours away, paid and probably not even vote.
And what happens if that employee is injured in an accident on the clock, off property??? Want to see your insurance go through the roof…. just wait……
And how about requiring a 2 week notice before anyone can quit??? If we thought the demoprog caucus has been a clown show over the last 40 years, it’s nothing like we are seeing this year with the legislative supermajority.
Maybe Senator Irene Wrenner should hear from people who disagree with her give-away. She is your prog/dem clown for the day.