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Fire-at-will Employment Policies

September 22, 1988|Clipboard researched by Susan Greene and Dallas Jamison / Los Angeles Times

Companies around the country are increasingly incorporating "fire-at-will" clauses in their employment policies, allowing for termination of non-union employees without cause. A common management practice for years, this policy fell from favor in the '80s, when courts began to support the rights of employees in many wrongful-discharge cases. Recently, however, companies have begun reinstituting these clauses in employment applications and other general policy documents. Following is a list of Orange County's biggest employers* and their policies on fire-at-will:

Number of Company Location Employees Hughes Aircraft Co. Fullerton 14,584 Rockwell International Corp. Anaheim 14,200 McDonnell Douglas Corp. Hunt. Beach 8,300 Disneyland Anaheim 6,000 Pacific Bell Orange 5,974 Alpha Beta Co. La Habra ** 4,763 Lucky Stores Inc. Buena Park 4,166 Ford Aerospace & Communications Corp. Newport Beach 3,600 Parker Hannifin Corp. Irvine 3,342 Cigna Healthplans of CA Orange 3,000 Ralphs Grocery Co. Compton 3,000 The Orange County Register Compton 2,990 ITT Cannon Santa Ana 2,800 Beckman Instruments Inc. Fullerton 2,700 Beatrice/Hunt-Wesson Inc. Fullerton 2,600 Vons GroceryCo. El Monte **** 2,400

Fire-at-Will Company Clause Hughes Aircraft Co. Yes Rockwell International Corp. Yes McDonnell Douglas Corp. No Disneyland Yes Pacific Bell No Alpha Beta Co. *** Lucky Stores Inc. Yes Ford Aerospace & Communications Corp. *** Parker Hannifin Corp. No Cigna Healthplans of CA Yes Ralphs Grocery Co. Yes The Orange County Register Yes ITT Cannon No Beckman Instruments Inc. Yes Beatrice/Hunt-Wesson Inc. Yes Vons GroceryCo. Yes

*Largest employers ranked for 1987-1988 by the Orange County Chamber of Commerce. Employee totals reconfirmed by the Los Angeles Times.

** Company would not confirm number of employees; Chamber of Commerce figure used.

*** Company refused comment.

****Because of Vons' recent acquisition of Southern California Safeway, employee numbers are substantially higher than the Chamber of Commerce estimate shown. Vons was not able to provide an updated total.

NOTE: The Los Angeles Times employs 1,181 people in Orange County and includes a fire-at-will clause in its employment documents.

Source: Orange County Chamber of Commerce; individual companies

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