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Blog: Are You An Employee At Will?

December 2, 2014

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You may have heard the term “employee at-will” but may not know exactly what it means or if you fall under that category.  An “employee at-will” is one that can be terminated for any reason, or no reason at all, at any time.  Likewise, an at-will employee can separate from the employer at any time for any reason.  Generally, unless you have an employment contract that specifies the duration of your employment, you are an employee at-will.

Most states are at-will employment states meaning that by default, employees are at-will employees.  Some states however, have exceptions to the employment at-will doctrine, such as, when the discharge violates the state’s public policy, when there is an implied employment contract, or when a state requires a discharge be done in good faith.  These are usually narrow exceptions.

Of course, a termination also must not violate state or federal laws, such as the laws that prohibit unlawful discrimination.  Federal law prohibits employers from taking adverse employment action based on certain protected classifications such as race, sex, national origin, religion, age, disability, genetics, military status, color, and pregnancy.  Each state may also have other protected classifications.

This blog post is authored by Allyson Dirksen and meant for informational purposes only.  It is not meant to provide legal advice in any particular circumstance or factual situation.  You should consult with an attorney prior to taking any action regarding the information contained herein. 

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