Application of the Law to the Facts - Paper Example

6 pages
1631 words
Vanderbilt University
Type of paper: 
Case study
This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

The employment-at-will law will form a very strong argument for Greene Jewelrys case against Jennifer Lawsons suit for wrongful termination of her employment. The law which is also applicable in the state of New Hampshire allows for the termination of an employee without issuing any warning, explanation or reason for such action (Doyle, 2016). Furthermore, the law allows an individual to be terminated at whatever time the employer wishes. As such, Jennifer Lawson does not have a strong case against Greenes Jewelry because the law does not require them to give any notice or explanation. Moreover, the law requires that the court should deny Jennifer any claim for benefits because of any loses she may have incurred because of her termination (Doyle, 2016). However, there may be a weakness in the companys argument because the timing of their termination is suspect and could amount to an illegality if they dismissed Jennifer on discriminatory grounds for being expectant. Even so, Greene Jewelry stands a high chance of winning because the employment-at-will law forms a strong basis for refuting Jennifers claims and there is no concrete evidence that Lawson was fired on the grounds of discrimination. In any case, she was not the only junior executive to be terminated. Jennifer Lawson would have been exempted from the terms of the employment-at-will law if she had an employment contract, was operating within a collective bargaining agreement or if the policy of Greens Jewelry had a definite procedure for termination (Doyle, 2016). Apparently, Jennifer only signed a confidentiality agreement at the time of her employment and the company does not seem to have a termination guideline hence she still does not stand a chance of winning under the exemption clause.

The non-compete law is another solid argument in the companys favor. Greenes Jewelry treats its trade secret known as Ever Gold as an asset as it is part of the goodwill that has enabled it to build good relationships with customers over the years. Therefore, the confidentiality agreement which Jennifer had signed was meant to protect its business interest which was deemed to be legitimate. Greenes argument is strong because the company can show that it has taken reasonable steps to protect such information by making it mandatory for all executives to sign confidentiality agreements as well as non-compete covenants. In this regard, Greenes is likely to win its suit for Lawsons breach of confidentiality because such private information is what has given it a competitive edge over other competitors such as Howell and Triumph. In essence, Greenes ability to prove that the confidential information Jennifer shared with other competitors gave it a competitive advantage and that reasonable measures had been undertaken to protect the trade secret provides sufficient grounds to win the suit against Jennifer for breach of confidentiality ( None compete agreements require that they should have a reasonable scope and duration. This would have been a weakness, but Jennifer only signed a confidentiality agreement which she breached, so Greenes Jewelry still stands a better chance of winning the suit against Jennifer Lawson.

The NH Warn Act supports the argument of Greene Jewelry against Jennifer because it allows a company to undertake mass layoff when it is downsizing. However, the weakness of this law is that it requires employers who have at least 75 workers within the state of New Hampshire to give a notice of 60 days before them engaging in a mass lay off (Ford & Lieberman, 2009). Greenes Jewelry has 502 employees within the state thus it was necessary for them to give a 60-days notice to their junior executive secretaries before laying them off. In this regard, the company may have to stage a good argument for its decision not to adhere to this law. Sandhu v. Solutions2go Inc. case can support Greenes situation because although Jennifer was dismissed without notice the company did not owe her anything like was the case for Sandhu. The precedent based on the case of Barton v. Rona supports the companys argument because in this case, it was a termination with cause. However, the company was terminating Jennifers employment because they were downsizing and not because she had done anything wrong. Unfortunately, if the company looks at Jennifers termination as one with cause, then there would be a weakness in their argument. Barton had exhibited serious misconduct, but then it was not enough reason for dismissal because he had good performance appraisals and even had no history of disciplinary issues (Coulter, 2012). Similarly, Jennifers lateness of 15 to 30 minutes would not be enough reason to dismiss her because she was diligent, professional, skilled and articulate in her role at Greenes Jewelry. Nonetheless, the cases of RKI Inc. v. Grimes and that of Hallmark Inc. v. Janet Murley set a good precedence for Greenes Jewelry Wholesale because the companies prevailed against their personnel who had breached non-disclosure. In the same breath, Greenes could argue its case and increase its chances of winning by giving examples of the rulings in the two cases that served to give precedence on how cases of breaching non-disclosure contracts should be handled.

E. Impact Assessment

i. Public Perception

The legal situation may have a negative impact on the companys public image despite the fact that Greenes Jewelry may not have committed any wrong. The litigation may cause a decline in the public confidence especially with regards to the treatment of its human resource. The dismissal of Jennifer may appear to be discriminatory and unethical to some sections of the public, and this may change the good reputation they had for the company. The fact that all junior executive secretaries were being fired just at about the same time Jennifer announced that she was expectant makes it appear as though the human resource head was biased and only fired other executives to justify her decision to terminate Jennifers employment. Additionally, lawsuits can cause the public to doubt the quality of the companys products to the point that the firm may lose some of its customers. For instance, Greenes lawsuit made it public that the Ever Gold used to make the companys products had become known to competitors. As a result, the customers may fear to buy products associated with the company as they may not be able to differentiate the genuine from the fake products given that competitors are aware of how to make products similar to Greenes but with slight modifications.

ii. Damages

To begin with, Greenes Jewelry should quickly acknowledge the events that occurred without taking the blame. Remaining silent or being slow to communicate could adversely affect the publics perception of Greenes Jewelry Wholesale particularly in New Hampshire which is its primary market. While acknowledging the issue Greenes should focus on the areas the public is most concerned about. Another strategy to repair the damage would be to rebuild the brands reputation (Lindstrom, 2015). Specifically, the company should be able to win over the publics trust. For instance, it can run advertisements that assure customers of the quality of their products and even label it to differentiate it from that of other competitors who may be trying to imitate their products. Indeed it would be appropriate for the company to take action against other parties, in this case, Lisa Peele, the human resources head. Lisa Peele may have acted appropriately but she did not adhere to the NH Warn Act hence dismissing her may be a good move in an attempt to restore the publics confidence. Being a senior executive, the company should award her a severance pay to avoid the recurrence of a lawsuit like that of Jennifer.

iii. Business Practices

To avoid post-termination lawsuits, the company should make changes and even incorporate certain policies within the organization. First and foremost, the company should establish clear policies that are properly stipulated in the handbook of employees (Quickbooks, 2017). The policies will help to avoid any ambiguities that may cause unnecessary suits. For instance, the company can expressly state that its junior executive secretaries are employed by the employment-at-will law and even stipulate what it entails. In this way, terminated employees will not have a basis for suing the company. Also, guidelines on the termination procedure should be given so that employees are aware whether to expect a termination notice or not. Another initiative that can be taken by Greenes Jewelry is to require that employees who are fired should sign an agreement for termination and release. This document should stipulate that once signed the former employee releases Greenes from any possible claims (Qucikbooks, 2017). In this way, the company will to a large extent be able to deter former employees from filing lawsuits for wrongful termination. An even better practice would be to give their workers particularly the executives a severance pay so that they may feel appeased. If Greenes Jewelry Wholesale would have given Jennifer a severance pay or even some form of compensation she would probably not have breached the confidentiality agreement because she merely acted out of desperation as she was expectant and had lost her source of livelihood. Overall, Greenes Jewelry Wholesale should remain compliant in every aspect of the companys operations to avoid potential suits.


Doyle, A. (2016). What Does Employment at Will Mean? Retrieved on 24 October, 2017 from:, D. & Lieberman, A. (2009). The New Hampshire WARN Act to Take Effect Next Year. Retrieved on 24 October, 2017 from:

Quickbooks (2017). Avoiding Legal Concerns When Firing Employees. Retrieved on 24 October, 2017 from:, M. (2015). 5 Steps to Regain Trust after a PR Disaster. Retrieved on 24 October, 2017 from:, C. (2012). Termination For Cause: Another Case of Employer Beware. Retrieved on 24 October, 2017 from:

Non-Competition Agreements: Overview. Retrieved on 24 October, 2017 from:

Have the same topic and dont`t know what to write?
We can write a custom paper on any topic you need.

Request Removal

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the website, please click below to request its removal: