At-will employment, Hotel California-style.

The Eagles' classic-rock hit "Hotel California" says, "You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave." A McDonald's franchisee has allegedly taken that sentiment to another level by posting a sign that forbids employees from quitting. The sign reads:

There is some doubt about the authenticity of this story. It initially appeared on, and the person who posted it did not reveal the location of the restaurant where the sign was allegedly hung. It might all be a hoax.

However, we'll take this opportunity to point out the obvious: Putting up such a sign is a monumentally bad idea. Although it offers a nod toward progressive management by encouraging mediation of workplace disputes, preventing employees from quitting is almost universally illegal in the U.S.

At-will employment is the law in 49 states and the District of Columbia. (Montana is the only exception.)

The central tenet of at-will employment is that employers are free to fire and employees are free to quit. Employment may be terminated by either the employer or the employee at any time for any lawful reason or no reason at all. Posting a "no-quitting" sign would destroy the at-will employment relationship, something far riskier for an employer than a teenager who has had just about enough of flipping burgers, mopping up spills and degreasing fryer baskets.

Retirement plan fiduciaries to pay more than $124 million for mismanaging profit sharing

Fiduciaries of a retirement plan sponsored by an IT outsourcing firm--including the plan's investment advisors--will pay more than $124.6 million to resolve violations of federal law related to their failure to properly manage the profit-sharing portion of the plan.

The settlement ends litigation originally filed by the U.S. Department of Labor against DST Systems, investment advisors Ruane, Cunniff & Goldfarb and several individual defendants.

The retirement plan served 9,000 current and former employees of DST Systems.

The lawsuit alleged the defendants violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by failing to diversify the plan to minimize the risk of large losses and failing to "prudently and loyally" manage the plan's assets.

The lawsuit highlighted an example in which Ruane, Cunniff & Goldfarb invested the plan's assets in the stock of a single pharmaceutical company, Valeant Pharmaceuticals International. The concentration in Valeant stock grew to more than 45% of the plan's assets. Soon after, Valeant's...

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