Can I Be Fired? Can I Quit? Understanding the Employment at Will Doctrine
What is Employment At Will?
Unless there is a contract or a collective bargaining agreement that expressly states the employment terms, an employee is an employee at will. That means that an employer may terminate the employee’s job with or without good cause and that the employee may quit his job for any reason.
Supporters of the employment at will doctrine argue that it promotes efficiency in the workplace. In order for a business to achieve its greatest potential, the employer and the employee must be productive and successful. It is important that the employer and the employee work well together. The doctrine recognizes that sometimes an employee and an employer do not work well together even though there is no tangible reason for the unproductive working relationship. Therefore, the doctrine allows either party to leave the relationship for any reason rather than be locked into an arrangement that is not working.
Exceptions to the Employment at Will Doctrine
Each state creates its own exceptions to the employment at will doctrine. There are some exceptions that have widespread agreement among the states and other exceptions where there is less agreement.
The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.
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