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What is at-will employment?

On Behalf of | Jan 3, 2022 | Wrongful Termination

When you get a job, most of the time, it is through at-will employment. The only time you are not entering into an at-will employment agreement is when you have a contract that sets the terms of employment.

California Legislative Information explains that at-will employment means you and your employer have the right to end employment at any time and for any reason.

Important point

At-will employment also allows you or your employer to end the agreement without notice. So, that means you do not have to give the standard two-week notice. You can simply call in and quit right on the spot without any type of retaliation. It also means your employer can fire you on the spot without any obligation to you.

Wrongful termination

Because at-will employment gives you and the employer broad means to end the job, it is very difficult to claim wrongful termination. The only time you would be able to make this claim is if your employer breaks a law. Usually, this happens when the employer fires you or lets you go due to discrimination.

Proving discrimination can also be difficult, especially if your employer has records backing up the reason he or she gives for ending your employment. For example, you may feel that your boss fired you because he did not like the time you had to take off for religious reasons, but your employer says the reason was due to disciplinary issues. If your employer has records of writing you up for disciplinary actions, then it will be almost impossible to prove to the court that religious discrimination was the real issue.

At-will employment gives both parties freedom when it comes to ending the relationship, but it also makes claiming wrongful termination harder.