Secondly, Werhane and Radin’s perspective does not necessarily account for employment decision-making, as they claim. The introduction of due process within corporation invariably results in higher costs. While due process ensures that costs cannot readily be curtailed through retrenchment, the effect is telling on future employment: employers hire less, more rigidly define tasks, employees’ positions are seldom permanent, and overall unemployment inevitably (and obviously rises). Another argument against EAW posits that it is detrimental to the individual freedom of the employees.
Since a corporation can readily fire its workers under the doctrine, such terminations can often be arbitrary. Indeed, the courts of law in America seem to concur with this point, and an increasing number of cases dealing with unlawful termination are now awarded in favor of the employee. In fact, the “public policy” clause – which maintains that an employer cannot claim at-will terminations if the same is in contravention of any public legislation – has augmented the regulation of private businesses by the judiciary manifold.
However, it is difficult to comprehend the merits of such arguments; as Arthur Foulkes argues, the opponents of EAW do not seem to not seem to understand that employment is not a right akin to those of the freedoms of speech, expression, association, religion, et al. , and therefore, the question of curtailing freedoms does not arise (2005). Also, there is never a furor when an employee terminates a contract and leaves a company. Since such cases reserve but only limited emotional appeal, they are hardly well-documented.
If we were to follow from the argument of restraining freedoms, it could then be said that the employees have limited the employers’ “right to employ. ” Of course, such an argument is totally untenable, but is only used to illustrate how shaky the opposition to EAW on such grounds is. In addition, the growing encroachment upon private businesses is ultimately detrimental to the market economy; the greater the level of regulation – even if it is in the domain of contract termination – greater is the dilution of economic freedom.
The interests of the employer and the employee are not opposed (Foulkes, 2005), and to assume contrary is to turn a blind eye to the economic theory of labor markets. Only EAW assures that economics can soundly be based on the principles of markets, rather than the dogmas of market regulation. In conclusion, we must restate the fundamental tenets of EAW, on which much of this defense rests – voluntarism, efficiency, economic liberty and fairness. The very basis, thus, of EAW provides the credibility which due process attempts to institutionally create.
A system of choice which rewards merit and is based on fairness is inherently eradicates arbitrary behavior and is innately desirable; that it promotes economic growth and efficiency only makes it doubly recommendable. As Foulkes maintains: No one wants to be fired and no one likes an overbearing boss. But we should be careful about outlawing things simply because we find them morally objectionable; often the results are worse than the problem we sought to solve. (2005)
Epstein, Richard A. “Employment at Will and Due Process. ” Ethical Theory and Business [8th Edition]. Eds. Tom L. Beauchamp, Norman E. Bowie and Denis G. Arnold. Chicago, IL. : R. R. Donnelly & Sons, 2007, 121-129. Foulkes, Arthur. “In Defence of Employment-at-Will. ” Ludwig von Mises Institute. 23 May, 2005. Retrieved on June 18, 2008, from <http://mises. org/story/1821> Werhane, Patricia H. , and Tara J. Radin. “Employment at Will and Due Process. ” Ethical Theory and Business [8th Edition]. Eds. Tom L. Beauchamp, Norman E. Bowie and Denis G. Arnold. Chicago, IL. : R. R. Donnelly & Sons, 2007, 113-121.