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How should Michael approach any legal cause of action, and what is that cause of action?

What would you find to indicate that a reasonable person would consider the defendant''s interception of these communications to be a substantial and highly offensive invasion of his privacy?

Back your findings with legal cases and laws. Should Michael commence litigation, or is another alternative more preferable?

Explain how he should resolve this dispute, demonstrating critical thinking and analysis based on his specific facts.

Address the question of: Should the company''s interest in preventing inappropriate and unprofessional comments or even illegal activity over its email system outweigh any privacy interest the employee may have in those comments?




Strict policies are important for organisations in order to maintain privacy of information and control activities of their employees. In this case, appropriate implementation of the policies need to be done by both the employees and the company. Breach of policies makes the involves the parties liable for legal actions in front of the law. The victim can sue the convict to court on the basis of breach of contract. This study highlights an issue between an employee named Michael Smyth and Pillsbury company on the basis of breach of organisational policies.

Discuss the legal and ethical issues

Pillsbury company organised a communication system through electronic mail with an assurance of keeping the conversation confidencial. In addition, the employees were assured that their communication will not become the cause of reprimanding or terminating them. The assurance which the company provided to its employees facilitated them to interact with their coworkers freely. On the contrary, implementation of the policies were not done as it was assured by the company. An employee named Michael Smyth freely communicated with the company supervisor on some blunt subjects through email. The conversation included messages such as"kill the backstabbing people" and "Jim Jones Kool-Aid affair" relying upon the company's policies.  Later, the company retrieved and intercepted these messages as well as fired Michael Smyth on January 1995. The company cited the reason of passing unprofessional and inappropriate comments through email behind the action of termination. Against the action taken by the company, Michael Smyth sued Pillsbury on the basis of wrongful discharge of policies. On the contrary, Pillsbury approached to state a claim on the basis of which relief can be received. In the above analysis of the incident it can be said that, Michael Smyth performed an ethical issue of communicating in unprofessional and vague language. On the other hand, Pillsbury did not stood upon its policies and assurance which it provided to the employees forming a legal issue. 

Approach of Michael for legal cause of action

In the views of Pierce et al. (2019), cause of action in terms of law involves justifying one’s right of suing the convict in order to obtain justice and compensation. A cause of action comprises a legal theory and the subsequent remedy. In the case of Michael, the legal theory includes termination from workplace on the basis is of breach of policy by the company. Michael is suffering from termination of employment even when assurance on such incident by the company was provided. Against this legal theory the subsequent remedy includes providing justice to Michael against the company.    

A cause of action is the heart of a lawsuit which facilitates achieving solution of the case (Campbell et al. 2019). Michael Smyth need to present the facts in order to justify the incident and provide his opinion in front of the court. In this process, Michael Smyth need to provide the court with evidences in support with the facts on incident which took place. A document need to be submitted which consist overall discussion of the incident with the evidence of email conversation and policies of the organisation. In addition, Michael Smyth can convince the coworkers to act as a witness in order to strengthen the case.

Indicate defendant's inception of the incident

In order to provide justice, both the accuser and defendant should receive the chance of providing own opinion. In the incident, the defendant Pillsbury Company had assured its employees with keeping their email conversation confidencial. In addition, the employees were assured that their communication will not become the cause of reprimanding or terminating them. The company found the conversation between Michael Smith and the supervisor very unprofessional on the basis of which the employee was fired. The motive of the company behind firing Michael Smyth was to set an example for other employees that unprofessional and inappropriate comments are not not welcomed. In addition, the company wanted its employees to communicate professionally and maintain proper business environment. Therefore, the company wanted to receive the grant of relief from the court against the accused made by Michael. 

Litigation or other alternatives for Michael

After evaluating the incident, Michael Smyth has left with two alternatives with the help of which the case can be resolved.

The first option is to perform litigation or take legal actions against the company. Michael Smyth can sue the company on the basis of false assurance and providing wrong reason behind termination from employment.

The alternative option is to communicate with the company on the incident to reach at a mutual decision where both receive justice. Both the parties should interact with each other keeping their perspectives and opinion of the incident and derive an outcome. This option will help bo0th the parties to come at a mutual conclusion where both will be benefited.

Assistance can be taken from the case of Peters v PJ & P Eldred [2016] FWC 1375, where a similar incident took place. In the case of Peter, FWC found that the company did not provided any substantial reason behind terminating the employee. Furthermore, Peter did not received an opportunity to respond against the same and improve. As a result, the case was dismissed with providing Peter compensation against wrongful discharge by the company.    

Critical thinking for resolving the dispute

In the process of providing justice and resolving the dispute, critical thinking is required to be performed on the overall incident. It is true that Michael Smyth made a wrongful conduct in the organisation. Making unprofessional and wrongful comments is against the organisational norms and behavior. On the contrary, the company had assured that termination of employment will not be done on the basis of email conversation. In addition, the company did not provide Michael with an opportunity to respond against the same and improve. Therefore, both the parties were at fault but the decision of terminating Michael was wrong on the basis of breach of organisational policy. In this situation, the company in order to resolve the case should reemploy Michael with honour and give Michael an opportunity to improve. 

Impact of company’s policies on privacy interest of employees

It can be said that company’s action towards controlling as well as preventing unprofessional and inappropriate comments over the email is affecting the privacy interest of employees. It can happen that the real intention behind the conversation is misinterpreted and not the same which the employee actually meant (Mubarak & Sitnikova, 2019). Thus, the company need to take other initiative to control the illegal activities which are taking place in the workplace. The company need to understand the importance of privacy interest of the employees.


Policies are framed to control inappropriate activities within the business environment but its effectiveness lies in the way the rules are implemented. It is important for both the employees and company to fulfill their responsibilities in relation with organisational rules. It can be concluded from this study that, the action of Pillsbury company to terminate Michael without providing any warning or opportunity of improvement was wrong. The company need to provide a substantial reason before termination of employees and pinion of other parties need to be taken who were involved in the incident.


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