Employment Laws

Usually, when people think of a theft they think of physically stealing property from somebody else. In reality there are numerous ways in which the employees can steal from a company.  The most common way for workers to steal from an organization is the so-called theft of time in the workplace. It may involve: taking extra time on smoking and lunches, dealing with personal matters during the working time and simply wasting time and so on (Snider, 2002). There are several factors that contribute to the theft of time in the workplace. Free access to social networks, mobile phones and smoking are the most common reasons, why employees waste their time instead of doing their job. To prevent people from wasting time on the internet an employer can limit their access to facebook, pornographic sites and personal emails. Another factor increasing time theft is smoking in the workplace that on average takes about 15 % of the employees working time. Having no smoking policy is one of the ways to manage this problem (Snider, 2002).  

In accordance with the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989, employees of the federal government reporting any misconduct from the government agency are protected by the state. A whistleblower can file a complaint in case one believes that a federal agency violates the law. A simple example here is a case when an employee wants to steal office equipment, sell it and keep the profits for oneself. Another employee (the whistleblower) finds out about these plans and immediately reports about this to the authoritative figure.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission defines retaliation as an issue occurring: “when an employer, employment agency, or labor organization takes an adverse action against a covered individual because he or she engaged in a protected activity” (EEO, 2005). Employers facing retaliation lawsuits may be liable for front pay, back pay, for reinstatement, damages for suffering and pain and punitive damages. The following example is useful to understand, what retaliation is and when it is illegal. Audrey, a woman pilot was fired after she complained for the sexual harassment at the workplace. She filed a lawsuit for the company that fired her. The judge dismissed the charge of sexual harassment, but more than $3 million were awarded to her in punitive damages for illegal retaliation because of her complaint.

Excessive Personal Time is a common problem in most workplaces. Employees like Jennifer often use some part of their working day to address small certain matters. However, often they abuse the possibility to have a break. Without any doubt, Jennifer spends too much time on personal matters, such as making calls, checking lottery tickets and updating her facebook page. Taking into account the fact that there is no written policy regarding this issue in the company, her boss should allow Jennifer to have some personal time for family calls, and so on. However, to prevent abuse, Tracy should monitor her work and, if necessary, schedule a meeting with Jenifer to discuss the matter at hand. Jennifer should receive a written warning to realize her actions are not good for the company. It may not affect the quality of her job, but the atmosphere of all-permissiveness in the office is not good for the rest of workers, who are sure to take Jennifer’s example (Snider, 2002).  

The case of Steven`s contract termination falls under Whistleblower Protection Act, that provides protection to employees in similar situations (EEO, 2005). Steven was fired not due to his low performance of time theft at the workplace. He was performing his duties in the firm and did it well. However, his testifying in the court against his boss was the reason of his retaliation. Thus, Steven should file a lawsuit against Wayne and his firm, due to his wrongful termination.

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