Douglas Borthwick: Employers’ Rights Under the “At-Will” Employment Doctrine

Douglas Borthwick, an attorney at Freeman & Borthwick Law Firm, maintains active licensure to practice in all California courts. Doug Borthwick earned his legal degree at Capital University Law School in 1991.

Employment at will,” a United States common law, holds that a set of employment arrangements continues only as long as the employer and employee agree on them. Unless a legal contract specifies an alternate arrangement, the employer or employee may end the employment agreement at any time without reason or notice. Although laws prohibit certain grounds for firing, such as discrimination on the basis of gender, at-will employment usually allows an employer to dismiss any employee for almost any reason.

Since numerous labor regulations, health, safety, and civil rights laws in the United States affect the at-will employment doctrine, employers should clearly convey the conditions for employment at their companies. Some available strategies for maintaining an at-will employee/employer relationship include asking employees to sign a form stating that their employment is at will or clearly explaining the at-will policy and employment requirements in your employee handbook. Employers should also avoid using language that implies a permanent employment contract, such as “permanent employee” for workers who have outlasted a probationary period.

This article is designed for general information only. The information presented should not be construed to be either formal legal advice or the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.


Probate and Estate Planning at Freeman & Borthwick By Douglas Borthwick

Probate and estate planning are legal processes that help distribute an estate upon an individual’s death. Probate refers to the process of distributing assets in order to settle outstanding debts, while estate planning is simply the process of outlining how an estate will be distributed upon a person’s death.

Because probate and estate planning deal with an individual’s assets, there are often several legal instruments that must be settled before the future of an estate is finalized. Advanced health care directives offer firm instructions to healthcare providers in the event an individual suffered from a medically incapacitated or vegetative state. Wills provide instruction for the distribution of assets and property, while a living trust outlines who will manage property in the event of an individual’s death. A conservatorship allows the court to handle the management of an estate if a person is incapacitated.

About the Author

Douglas Borthwick is an attorney in Orange County, California. Along with probate and estate planning, Doug Borthwick and his fellow lawyers offer a range of litigation and transactional law services. Visit to find out more information about the firm.

This site is designed for general information only. The information presented should not be construed to be formal legal advice or the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.

Douglas Borthwick Looks at Medical Malpractice Damages

Medical malpractice can result in the harm or death of an individual at the hands of a medical practitioner. In order to pursue a medical malpractice claim, an individual must prove four elements:

1. A physician was charged with duty of care.
2. The physician failed to provide appropriate care.
3. The individual suffered as a result.
4. The suffering was caused by the inappropriate standard of care given.

Should a medical malpractice case be pursued, the harmed individual or the family of the individual may be entitled to receive one of three types of damages:

1. General damages: This category refers to suffering that cannot be quantified with a dollar amount; for example, if the individual has lost enjoyment of life, endures mental or physical suffering, or cannot secure future employment.

2. Special damages: Special damages cover what can be measured quantitatively, such as medical bills and missed work. Unlike general damages, special damages are much easier to calculate.

3. Punitive damages: Less common than general or special damages, punitive damages can be awarded when the physician knows that he or she was behaving in a harmful manner.

If you have been the victim of medical malpractice, contact an attorney.

About the Author:

Douglas Borthwick is a lawyer practicing in California. He currently serves as General Counsel for LumpSumIn Relocation Incorporated, but has prior experience helping clients with medical malpractice suits.

This site is designed for general information only. The information presented should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.