Michigan Upholds Doctrine of At-Will Employment; Indiana Finds Employment Claims are Property Rights
The courts in our area continue to refine and address a variety of issues relevant to employers and employment. In a decision late last year, the Michigan Court of Appeals expressed its strong support for the doctrine of at-will employment, rejecting a claim that an employee of a medical center had a legitimate expectation of for-cause employment based on policies announced in the company handbook. The full decision in Woofter v. Mecosta County Medical Ctr., can be found here. (Full Text Opinion)
Early this year, the Indiana Court of Appeals commented on employment claims in a divorce case, noting the husband’s right to recover from a claim against his employer that began during his marriage represented property of the marital estate. Here is a link to the Court’s decision in Paul D. Edwards v. Zobeida E. Bonilla-Vega.
These very different cases remind employers to think beyond the day-to-day in order to protect their rights and interests in legal claims. Have your handbook reviewed periodically to make sure it does not alter the at-will status of your employees and serves your other interests. This is an easy preventative measure to reduce the risks of having your company name on the list of new court decisions. But if you do end up in litigation with an employee, investigate his or her marital status in order to understand how a pending divorce might play into the potential for settlement.
Disclaimer: The THK Legal Blog is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice. In no case does the published material constitute an exhaustive legal study, and applicability to a particular situation depends upon investigation of specific facts. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.