Should you hire at-will employees

Should you hire at-will employees and if you do how does that affect potential employee terminations? Let's dive deeper into this topic.
at will and for cause employees
at will and for cause employees

Table of Contents

Should you hire at-will employees and if you do how does that affect potential employee terminations?

Generally speaking, the American workplace has two types of employment relationships: At Will and Just Cause Employment. Several alternative types of employment arrangements also exist. 

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What is an employment contract?

An employment contract is a legal binding agreement between an employer and employee that sets forth the expectations of both parties. The contract can be oral or written, and will typically outline the duties of the employee and the terms of employment. It is important to have a clear understanding of the contract before signing it.

Employment Contract

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What is an at will employment relationship?

An at-will employment relationship is a type of employment contract in which either party may end the arrangement without cause and without notice. This type of relationship is common in the United States.

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Who are at will employees?

An employee who is “at-will” can be terminated by their employer at any time and for any reason, with or without cause. An employer does not need to provide notice or a specific reason for terminating an at-will employee. In contrast, employees who have an employment contract specifying the terms of their employment are not considered at-will and may only be terminated according to the terms of their contract.

people, girls, women, At will Employees

At-will employees are those who do not have an employment contract specifying the terms of their employment. This means that they can be terminated by their employer at any time and for any reason, with or without cause.

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How does public policy affects employee termination?

In the United States, public policy affecting employee termination is set at the federal level by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The NLRB is responsible for investigating and adjudicating complaints of unfair labor practices, including those involving termination of employment. The NLRB also has the power to issue rules and regulations governing labor relations in the private sector.

In general, public policy concerning employee termination favors employer prerogatives.

event venue, auditorium, meeting, Public Policy

As a practical matter, public policy concerning employee termination is often shaped by court decisions.

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Let’s Briefly Discuss Just Cause Employment

If the employer has promised the employee a specific length of employment in a contract then the employment could be construed to be a Just Cause Employment relationship.

Just Cause Employment is a type of employment relationship in which an employer can only terminate an employee for a good reason. This means that the employer must have a valid, legally-acceptable reason for terminating the employee.

Some typical examples of just cause include:




-Violation of company policy

These are just four of the usual Just Cause reasons for employee dismissal or termination.

Reasons for dismissal

However, employers can often be very creative when dreaming up additional reasons for Just Cause.

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What are some bad reasons for a Just Cause Employee Termination?

Exceptions to Just Cause termination include violating a public policy or statute such as discrimination laws.

Dismissal due to public policy or descrimination probably would not be considered a good reason.

Just cause employment is less common than at-will employment, but it does offer more protection to employees. If you are employed under a just cause contract, be sure to familiarize yourself with the specific reasons that your employer can terminate your employment.

woman, baby, mother, illegal dismissal

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What is the at will employment doctrine?

The at-will employment doctrine is a principle that an employer may terminate an employee at any time and for any reason, provided that the reason is not illegal and as long as there is no contract in place that states otherwise.

Under the “at-will” doctrine, employers are generally free to terminate employees for any reason or no reason at all.

This doctrine is based on the theory that an employer and employee are free to end their relationship at any time.

However, there are a number of exceptions to this rule. For instance, employers cannot terminate employees in violation of anti-discrimination laws or in retaliation for engaging in certain protected activities, such as filing a complaint of discrimination.

page, text, doctrine

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Can You Explain the At Will Employment Agreement

In the United States, employment-at-will is the most common type of employment relationship.

Why is it called at-will employment?

At will employment is an employment contract where either party can terminate the agreement.

At Will Employment means an employer can terminate an employee at any time, for any reason, with or without notice or a just cause. This is in contrast to contracts that have a specified term, or require a valid reason to justify the cause for termination.

In most areas of the country, employers are free to set the terms of at-will employment, and employees are free to accept or reject those terms or negotiation new conditions.

decide, at will employment, You...gotta go

At-will enables a company to terminate workers at anytime and relieves the employer’s need to provide a valid cause to take the termination action. The reason for termination is simply “at will”.

There are a few exceptions to at-will employment. Some states have laws that protect employees from being fired for discriminatory reasons, or in retaliation for reporting illegal activity by their employer.

Additionally, some contracts may override the at-will presumption and allow either party to terminate only for cause, or specify a term for the contract. However, in the absence of such a contract, at-will employment generally is assumed.

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What is an at will employee?

An at-will employee is someone who is employed under an at will contract or employment agreement.

clock, pocket watch, clockwork, your time is up

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What are the Main Elements of an At Will Agreement?

The major elements of an at will employment agreement is that either party (the employer or the employee) can end the employment relationship at any time.

An at-will employee can be terminated by the employer at any time, for any reason, with or without notice.

Likewise, an at-will employee can quit his or her job at any time, for any reason or no reason at all, with or without notice.

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Can at will employees quit at any time?

Yes, at will employees can quit at any time. However, there may be consequences for doing so. Coersion such as not receiving severance pay or having to forfeit vacation pay has happened.

Hitting the road

Additionally, some employers have required the employee to sign a non-compete agreement, which limited the employee’s ability to find future employment.

Finally, the employer may report the employee’s departure to the credit bureau, which could damage the employee’s credit score.

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The word “Ghosting” comes to mind

At a minimum, out of courtesy to the other party, the reason should at least be communicated but this is not a hard necessity.

For example, “I want to spend more time with my family” is a typical reason often heard in the press when employees suddenly and unexpectedly quit a good job.

capitol, washington, dc, Congress makes employment law

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Who Determines Employment Law?

In the United States, employment law is a collection of federal and state statutes, regulations, common law, and judicial decisions governing the employer-employee relationship. Federal law preempts (overrides) state law in certain areas, such as anti-discrimination laws.

However, in others areas, such as wage and hour laws, states are free to enact their own laws, which may provide employees with greater protections than federal law. Many states have “mini-versions” of the federal statutes, such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

The primary source of employment law is statute, or legislation enacted by Congress or a state legislature. Secondary sources of law include administrative regulations and executive orders, and judicial decisions interpreting the statutes.

court house

Administrative agencies, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), are charged with enforcing the laws enacted by Congress or the state legislature.

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At Will Employment is Governed by State Laws

Besides Congress, the at will employment type of relationship is governed by state laws, which vary from state to state.

Some states have laws that protect employees from being fired for exercising certain legal rights, such as taking leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

If you are an at-will employee, be sure to understand your state’s laws so that you know your rights and what you can expect from your employer.

usa, capitals, map, at will employment is controlled by state law

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What are the At Will Employment Exceptions

There are a few exceptions to the at-will rule. For example, an employer cannot terminate an at-will employee for an illegal reason, such as discrimination or retaliation. This does not mean you will likely not be improperly terminated, it just means it is probably illegal for them to do so. Even if they back off with “this” excuse for termination, they will surely dream up a dozen valid other reasons that are not illegal and terminate you anyway.

Seek competent legal help if you feel this has happend to you.

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What does faith and fair dealing mean?

Faith and fair dealing is a concept that requires parties to act in good faith and with fairness in their dealings with one another. This principle is often incorporated into contracts, as it ensures that both parties are treated fairly and in accordance with the terms of the agreement. In some cases, faith and fair dealing may also be implied by law, even in the absence of an explicit contract. This principle is important in ensuring that both parties to a contract or agreement fulfill their obligations and do not take advantage of one another.

office, business, business people

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Bargaining in Bad Faith Comes to Mind

When defining what faith and fair dealing is, it is helpful to consider its two key components: faith and fairness.

Faith refers to the idea that both parties must act in good faith and with honesty. This means that they must keep their promises and not try to deceive one another.

Fairness, on the other hand, requires both parties to act fairly and in accordance with the terms of the agreement. This means that they must not take advantage of each other or act in a way that is unfair or unreasonable.

When both parties to a contract act in good faith and with fairness, it helps to ensure that the agreement is carried out as intended. This can provide greater certainty and stability for both parties, as they can be confident that the other party will not try to take advantage of them.

hand, greeting, agreement, a hand shake implied agreement

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What is an implied contract?

An implied contract is an agreement between two parties that is not expressly stated in writing, but is inferred from the actions or words of the parties involved. An implied contract can be created by the actions or behavior of the parties, even if they did not intend to create a contract. But like a smart guy once said, “when it comes to matters that are important, get it in black and white”.

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How should employee termination be discussed in the employee handbook?

Employee termination should be discussed thoroughly in the employee handbook so that employees are aware of the company’s expectations and the consequences for not meeting those expectations.

The employee handbook should outline the process for terminating an employee, including any warnings or steps that must be taken before termination occurs. This will help to ensure that employees are treated fairly and consistently.

a book, literature, pages, employee handbook

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What should employers do when terminating at-will employees?

If you don’t violate any Civil Rights Law, there’s nothing special that needs to be done other than tell the employee their services are no longer needed. Nevertheless, there are a few good ways of minimising headaches.

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Is there a good way to fire an employee?

The best way to fire an employee is to do so in a way that is respectful and considerate of their feelings. It is important to be clear about why the employee is being terminated, and to provide them with any resources they may need to transition into a new job. Additionally, it is helpful to give the employee time to collect their personal belongings and say goodbye to their coworkers. Finally, it is important to thank the employee for their contributions to the company. It’s always best to leave the door open and to not burn any bridges.

pull it off fast or slow eitherway it's gonna hurt someone

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What is the wrong way to fire an employee?

Firing an employee is always a difficult, stressful, gut wrenching task. There are certain ways to do it that are wrong and will only make the situation worse. Employees are very proud of their work and accomplishments so saying negative things about their work or the employee usually works against the company and is very upsetting to the employee being terminated. One of the worst things you can do is to try to fire an employee without cause. This will only lead to legal problems and will make the situation much more stressful for everyone involved. Instead, make sure that you have a good reason for firing the employee before you take any action.

Another mistake that many employers make is to try to fire an employee without giving them any warning. This is unfair and will likely only cause the employee to become upset. Ask youself “how would you like to be fired”. Instead, give the employee a chance to improve their performance or correct any issues that you have with their work. Open and honest communication works well too. If they are still not meeting your expectations, then you might decide to proceed with termination.

Finally, make sure that you handle the situation with professionalism and respect. This includes treating the employee fairly throughout the process and providing them with any severance pay or benefits that they are entitled to. By taking these steps, you can make sure that firing an employee is as smooth and stress-free as possible.

If you follow these tips, you can avoid many of the common mistakes that employers make when terminating an employee. By being fair, respectful, and professional, you can ensure that the process is as smooth and stress-free as possible.

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Which states are at-will states?

Some of the states that have at-will employment policies include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon , Pennsylvania , Rhode Island , South Carolina , South Dakota , Tennessee , Texas , Utah , Vermont , Virginia , Washington , West Virginia , Wisconsin and Wyoming .

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There is currently no system in the world that will tell a company how many actual workers are available within any geographic region in the world.

There is currently no system in the world that will display on a map all the jobs and all the companies hiring in any geographic region in the world.

Just center the map on your location and press SEARCH.

Mapertunity can do this. Mapertunitye will show you where both the jobs and the candidates are located. There is no system that will tell workers which companies are hiring in any geographic radius where the job seeker might be interested in searching.

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We believe the closer a job is to someone’s current location, the more likely they will stay in that job and the closer a worker is to a business, the more likely a business will be able to hold onto those workers. Economist calls this “being sticky”.

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