I found this resolution on the AFL-CIO web site labornotes.org. I'm now working on gathering people to support this resolution to try to change the laws to protect workers in Lake County Florida. Personally I would like to see this in effect in all states that have or are considering "Right to Work for Less" laws. Comments and input is welcome.
Whereas:The United States (with the exception of Montana) is alone among industrialized countries in allowing workers to be considered "at will" employees and dismissed for any reason – justified or not – unless protected by a union contract or individual agreement; and
Whereas: More than 93 percent of all workers lack contract protections in Florida and thousands of workers are unjustly fired every year; and
Whereas: Shifting labor markets and anti-worker policies have been fraying the ties between employers and employees, with globalization, outsourcing, contracting, downsizing, and the Great Recession making confidence in a stable, long-term job a privilege that only few can enjoy; and
Whereas: A recent survey by the American Psychological Association revealed that 45 percent of workers say job insecurity has a significant impact on stress levels and 62 percent say work has a significant impact on their stress levels. Almost 50 percent indicate their stress levels have increased between 2007 and 2008; and
Whereas: Research by a University of Michigan sociologist showed that workers concerned about losing their jobs reported significantly worse overall health and were more depressed than those who had actually lost and regained their jobs recently. Chronic job insecurity was a stronger predictor of poor health than either smoking or hypertension; and
Whereas: At-will employment results in increasingly costly litigation for employers and studies have shown that protections against unfair discharge do not hinder employment growth.
Therefore, be it resolved, that we urge the Florida Legislature to require all employers to abide by the “Seven Just Cause Principles” set forth below; and
Be it also resolved, that each county and municipal government within Lake County require that all employers abide by the “Seven Just Cause Principles” set forth below.
Be it further resolved that the organization adopting this resolution send a copy of this resolution to local legislators, county commissioners, and mayors.
Adopted this ________— day of ______________________________, 20_____.
Contact Person: ______________________________________________________
Phone: _________________________— Email:____________________________
Seven Just Cause Principles
1. Fair notice
An employer may not discipline an employee for violating a rule or standard whose nature and penalties have not been made known.
It is fundamentally unfair to punish an employee for violating a rule or policy about which the employee is unaware. Employers must publicize standards in handbooks, on bulletin boards, through the internet, or by direct announcement. They must also disclose possible penalties, especially suspension and discharge. Employees are expected to read and understand materials that are supplied to them.
2. Prior enforcement
An employee may not be penalized for violating a rule or standard that the employer has failed to enforce for a prolonged period.
If management allows employees to violate a rule for years, or even months, employees are lulled into believing that the rule or policy is no longer in effect. In such circumstances, imposing discipline is equivalent to applying a rule of which the employee is unaware.
3. Due process
An employer must conduct an interview or hearing before issuing discipline, take action promptly, and list charges precisely. Once assessed, discipline may not be increased.
Due process (procedural fairness) is implicit in the just cause standard. Before an employer makes a decision to impose discipline, it must permit the employee to tell his or her side of the story. Employees may not be subjected to double jeopardy.
4. Substantial proof
Charges must be proven by substantial and credible evidence.
Because livelihoods are at stake, disciplinary decisions must be based on reliable evidence, not rumors, suspicion, or speculation.
5. Equal treatment
Unless a valid basis justifies a higher penalty, an employer may not assess a considerably stronger punishment against one employee than it assessed against another known to have committed the same or a substantially similar offense.
Favoritism and discrimination are incompatible with just cause. Employers must treat employees essentially alike.
6. Progressive discipline
When responding to misconduct that is short of egregious, an employer must issue at least one degree of discipline that allows the employee an opportunity to improve.
The purpose of workplace penalties is to correct conduct, not to punish or humiliate. If a possibility exists that an offender can change, an employer should apply at least one penalty short of discharge. The level should be the lowest that is likely to convince the employee to improve his or her work or conduct.
7. Mitigating and extenuating circumstances
Discipline must be proportional to the gravity of the offense, taking into account any mitigating, extenuating, or aggravating circumstances.
Penalties must relate to the seriousness of the infraction including all relevant circumstances. The employer must consider whether the employee’s actions were intentional or an honest mistake, whether they caused slight or substantial damage, and whether they were isolated or part of a pattern. The employee’s longevity and past record must also be given consideration as well as any other circumstances that increase or decrease the likelihood that the offense will be repeated.