In this assignment, you’ll need to decide whether Paula Plaintiff has any legal claims arising from another series of unfortunate events. After reading the scenario, answer the questions that follow, making sure to fully explain the basis of your decision.
Paula’s bad luck continues. Five days after the events detailed in your last assignment, Paula returns to work at Capstone Corporation. Unfortunately, she used her company e-mail to send her mom a personal note about her injuries, despite being aware that Capstone’s company policy prohibits use of company e-mail for personal communication. Paula’s supervisor, Mikey Manager, discovers Paula’s violation and Paula is reprimanded. When Paula goes home, she uses her personal computer to post disparaging comments about her boss and Capstone Corporation on social media. The next day, Paula is fired from her job.
After several days of bad luck, Paula believes her luck is about to change. She finds a new job in a nearby town. Paula had been using the bus to go to work at Capstone Corporation, but she will need to purchase a car to commute to her new job. Fortunately, her neighbor Freddy Ford has just purchased a new vehicle and is selling his old Mustang. Paula meets with Freddy and agrees to purchase the Mustang for $1000. The parties also agree that Paula will bring Freddy the money the next day when she picks up the car. The next day, Paula calls Freddy and says, “I have the money. I’d like to come pick up my car.” Freddy replies that Paula is too late. He sold the car earlier in the day.
In a 6–10 paragraph paper, answer the following questions:
Does Paula have any legal claims against Capstone Corporation? What about Paula’s actions? Does Paula have a contract with Freddy to purchase the car? Consider the following:
Does Paula have a right to privacy when using Capstone Corporation’s e-mail system? Discuss one’s right to privacy and relate it to the facts in the scenario.
Can Paula be legally fired from her job for making negative comments about her boss and her company on social media? What about free speech? Discuss these issues and relate them to the facts of the scenario.
Do Paula and Freddy have a contract for the sale of the Mustang? Discuss the elements of a contract and relate those elements to the facts of the scenario.
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Paula’s Legal Claims
Paula’s Legal Claims Against Capstone Corporation
Paula does not have any legal claims against the company, Capstone Corporation, concerning the corporate mail since she did violate the rule of not sending personal emails using the work emails. It is prudent to note that the emails sent or received through corporate emails are generally not considered to be private and employers are allowed to monitor the communications since they do have a valid business purpose (Guerin, 2011). The right to privacy is also not to be upheld in Paula’s case since the company’s policy made it clear that the use of company email for personal communication was prohibited. This formal policy indicates that the company would be monitoring the communications to ensure no personal communication happens and hence Paula will have no legal basis for laying a claim for breach of privacy despite the significance of the personal information communicated.
Concerning the rights of free speech and whether Paula could be fired for speaking negatively about the companies they work with, it is prudent to note that employers have the powers of firing employees for any legal reasons including their posts on social media (Super Lawyers, 2018). The protections provided in these posts include prohibiting discrimination and retaliation, laws protecting whistleblowers, and those that complain about workplace conditions. The rights of free speech are unlikely to protect since they typically protect against government actions and not private companies. A government entity may not discipline an employee when they speak in their private capacity on matters of public concern. However, this is rarely applied in private companies. Therefore Paula could be legally fired for the negative comments about her boss and company as the latter parties seek to protect their business.
For the oral contract between Paula and Freddy to exist, the elements of a valid contract should be present. These elements include the offer and acceptance, lawful purpose, lawful consideration, certainty and completeness of terms, parties’ free consent, and free will (Law depot, 2020). In the element of offer and acceptance, Freddy did offer to sell the old Mustang, and Paula meeting with the seller and agreeing to purchase it for $1000 illustrated the acceptance element. The lawful purpose entails the contract existing for a legal reason which in this case was the car was needed by Paula for traveling to her new job premises. The lawful consideration is that something of value needed to be exchanged which is the value of $1000 for the car and the promise of Freddy to give the car on getting the amount. The terms of the contract need to be complete and certain in terms of the parties involved, each parties’ duties, the price to be paid, and the subject matter of the contract which were very clear in this scenario. In relation to parties’ free consent, it is evident that Paula and Freddy were of sound mind while making the agreement and consented to it freely without any form of coercion or duress finally, the parties need to have the capacity to enter the contract that is should be the age of majority and a sound mind. Paula and Freddy were both adults who were eligible to drive meaning that they could enter into contracts as they had passed the set age. Therefore, a valid verbal contract of sale existed between the two.
Guerin, L. (2011, October 10). Email monitoring: Can your employer read your messages? Retrieved from https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/email-monitoring-can-employer-read-30088.html
Law Depot. (2020, January 6). Are verbal agreements legally binding? Retrieved from https://www.lawdepot.com/blog/are-verbal-agreements-legally-binding/
Super lawyers. (2018). Can my employer discipline me for what I say on social media? Retrieved from https://www.bernabeipllc.com/articles/can-my-employer-discipline-me-for-what-i-say-on-social-media/