What is at-will employment? 

What is at-will employment? 

| Feb 19, 2021 | Workplace discrimination |

Did you sign an employment contract when you took your job? If so, then you have certain rights under that contract. For instance, it may say that you cannot be fired without cause or that you must get a warning before the company decides to let you go. 

If not, though, then you are likely an at-will employee. The vast majority of employees find themselves in this position. What does that mean for your career? 

A relationship that only lasts as long as both sides desire

The basis of the whole situation is that your business relationship exists for two reasons: 1) you want the job and 2) your employer wants to hire you. If either one of these things changes, for any reason, the relationship can be immediately terminated. 

As long as the reason itself is not illegal, your employer can fire you at any time and without warning. There are some key exceptions to at-will employment, and employees who have a collective bargaining agreement may have extra protection, but this is typically how it works. 

One counter that people sometimes bring up is that you’re supposed to give notice two weeks before quitting. Doesn’t your employer have to give you two weeks’ notice before firing you? The reality, though, is that neither of you has to provide notice under basic at-will employment laws. Your employer can ask you to, but there’s no law saying you must agree. 

Were you wrongfully terminated from your position?

Do you believe that you were fired in violation of even these at-will employment laws, or in violation of a contract? If so, you must know what steps you can take to protect your rights. Working with an experienced attorney can help.