Newcorp hired Pat Grey as manager of real property for Newcorp in Vermont, responsible for activities related to maintaining leased office space. In that role, Pat supervised 51 employees and lower-level supervisors, and dealt with tenants who leased commercial space. For the job, Pat relocated from another city 300 miles away, moving his spouse and children, selling and buying a home, and dealing with a spouse having to quit her job to seek employment in the new state.
After Pat had been on the job for three months, his boss explained that things did not seem to be working out, and said that Pat would be discharged with 30 days severance pay. Pat was surprised because his employer gave no indication of any problem on the job. Newcorp’s Personnel Manual, which had been provided to Pat upon his acceptance of employment, outlined the process for dealing with unsatisfactory employees:
Notice of Unsatisfactory Performance/Corrective Action Plan
If the job performance of an employee is unsatisfactory, the employee will be notified of the deficiency and placed on a Corrective Action Plan (CAP). If the employee performance does not improve to a satisfactory level within the specified period of time, termination will follow.
Pat acknowledged that upon employment, he signed an understanding that the company observed employment at will with respect to employment and discharge, but believed that the above provision limited Newcorp’s freedom to fire him at will. Finally, Pat observes that Newcorp senior management was “noticeably unfriendly” after Pat had been vocal at a local school board meeting. In the meeting, Pat insisted that school sports funds should be equally allocated among all student athletic programs, not just concentrated on the boy’s football and basketball programs. His position on the matter was unpopular, and although no one at the school board meeting identified Pat as a Newcorp employee, he believed that this contributed to the Newcorp decision to discharge him.
What liability and rights, if any, do Newcorp or Pat have in this situation? What legal principles (statutory or case law) supports those rights and liabilities? Remember to limit your answer to 350 words following APA format.
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