Many employers hire their employees “at will.” But what does
this language actually mean? In this blog, I explain what at-will employment
is and how it might affect you.
An employee who has signed an at-will agreement can be fired at any time,
for any reason. However, there are a few reasons that I will cover later
on that would be considered illegal. At will employees have limited legal
recourse when they are fired from their job. In many states, employers
are free to adopt at-will employment policies, enabling them to fire a
worker without needing good cause. Unless you can prove otherwise, the
law will usually presume that you are employed at-will.
Most employers include at-will agreements in their written policies, applications,
handbooks, job evaluations, and other employment-related documents. It
is important to carefully read all of these documents to see which ones
mention at-will employment, especially documents that require a signature.
Remember, even if a document doesn’t explicitly state “at-will,”
other language that says you can be fired for “any reason”
indicates that the employer operates under an at-will policy.
There are employers who use policies that require good cause to fire an
employee. These employers provide a list of specific reasons for termination
and job protections. If you employer has such policies, you can use them
in court for a wrongful termination claim. Contracts that promises job
security indicate that the employer does not use at-will employment policies.
Employees who are fired for any reason not specified in the contract,
can take legal action against the employer for breach of contract.
Have more questions about at-will employment? Contact our Hollister employment law attorney
to get help today.