At Will Employment

What does At Will Employment mean?

At will employment allows the employee to be employed at the will of the employer, which means the employee can be fired at any time for any reason. All states, with the exception of Montana, allow employers to hire and fire employees at will. Some employers, however, have instituted written policies which protect employees and only fire them for “good cause.”

At Will employment and wrongful termination

At will employment, however, does not give an employer the legal right to discriminate based on race, religion, gender, age, national origin, disability, pregnancy status, and, in many states, sexual orientation or gender identity. At will laws also do not allow an employer to terminate an employee who has an employment contract which cannot be breached or to retaliate against an employee who has filed a harassment claim or refused to perform an illegal action. Employers also cannot fire an employee who has missed work due to reasons protected by law, such as military service.

If an employee is wrongfully terminated due to any of the reasons listed above they may have the right to file a wrongful termination claim. Employees who win their wrongful termination law suit may be entitled to reinstatement, compensatory damages, injunctive relief and back pay.

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