D. Heroux: 'At will' employment isn't fair

The employment laws in the state of Maine are unfair to the workers of this state.

Employers want hard-working, loyal, dedicated employees, and the employees want to be treated fairly. That seems like a great exchange, but when you are employed in Maine you are an "at will" employee.

Why can't we make the employers of this state be accountable for the dismissal of an employee? It's no wonder my best friend just left the state to move to Florida to find work.

In searching for employment I am finding that Maine holds no opportunities for good jobs. Maine is not a worker friendly state.

What is the answer? I don't know, but something's got to give.

The good news is, well actually there is none.

Deb Heroux, Auburn

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Betty Davies's picture

As long as it's unfair to workers, Maine is "business friendly."

Businesses like total power over employees. They like to be able to fire anyone at any time, no need to give a reason. They like to be able to fire you if you complain about safety violations, or ask for a raise, or mention that someone's harassing you, or just because they have a new son-in-law or recently graduated daughter they want to plug into your job.

This degree of power keeps workers scared and passive, willing to cut corners on safety or collaborate with scamming customers when asked to, and fearful of joining with co-workers to advocate for themselves. It keeps workers' wages low and corporate profits high.

When faced with any possible gain in power by workers, bosses know that if they cry "socialism!" or promise to "create more jobs" they can prevail. Even if instead of creating jobs they're laying people off and making the remaining workers work longer and harder hours. Even if the company is enjoying big tax breaks and other incentives from the town/city to locate and remain here in Maine, in effect being financed by local taxpayers who either have to pay higher taxes themselves or do without vital services (like infrastructure repair).

Any conservative will tell you this is a great thing--the American way. In fact, a Maine governor proudly posted a sign on the Interstate, "Open for Business," and this is what he meant by it.

 's picture

At will employment is

At will employment is definitely not a one sided contract. It allows either side to terminate the agreement without giving a reason. An employee can walk off the job without any penalty. If an employee is fired for any reason other than misconduct on the job he can collect unemployment.

 's picture

Corporations are an accumulation of contracts - US Supreme

Court Chief Justice John Marshall - a legal invention. Whether written or oral, these contracts involve an exchange of promises of performance. "At Will" says the employer has no responsibilities to fulfill his promises and is not in anyway accountable. But the employee is. Its entirely one sided.
All employees should be represented by experts in the type of the contract being agreed to in this case meaning unions. Terminations should require reasons and evidence that the terms of the contract were violated and only then should a termination be valid.
Because its one sided "AT will" contributes to the lack of jobs in Maine, but it is not the primary cause.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

The reason way Maine does not

The reason way Maine does not hold many job opportunities is not because it is an "at will" state. There are many reasons, but being "at will" is not one of them.

According to this graph, Florida is also an "at will" state.

MARK GRAVEL's picture


way -> why

 's picture

Someone disagreed with this?!

Mark, you better watch your back.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

If "back" you mean the wallet

If "back" you mean the wallet in my back pocket, believe me, I watch it 24/7 because there is always someone who wants more from it, as seen here.

 's picture

Sometimes an employer ...

... has to adjust his business to account for changing economic conditions. In good times he might expand and add employees. In bad times he might have to "downsize" by letting some people go. The alternative might be to go out of business and dismiss all employees. These decisions are the very definition of accountability.

By restricting an employer's ability to manage his business responsibly, you put many jobs in jeopardy, making Maine even less worker friendly.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Sometimes it is clear why an

Sometimes it is clear why an individual has no opportunity!

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Ear to ear tattoos and body

Ear to ear tattoos and body piercings in exposed anatomical areas add to that clarity.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

I hear rumor that it is all

I hear rumor that it is all the rage amongst parrots to get sphincter piercings. Any truth to that rumor?

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Pay no attention to that man

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
Truth is, a piercing in the aforementioned location of the parrot's anatomy would not be feasible in his case since, being the liberal that he is, that's where his beak is located.

MARK GRAVEL's picture




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