Employment At Will and Wrongful Termination

By on 7-23-2015 in Employment Law

Finding employment opportunities has been difficult for a huge segment of the population, especially following the market instability caused by the recession several years back. This is why many applicants are eager to jump at the first opportunity they find, even if there are certain details in their job description or employment contract that seem confusing. One thing most of these applicants are wont to see is the term “employment at will.”

Generally, individuals that are employed “at will” are allowed to resign from their positions at any time they wish. In turn, employers also reserve the right to terminate an at-will employee in the same manner. If you have been fired from your position as an at-will employee, your employer might not even need to provide a legitimate reason for the termination. As The Melton Law Firm puts it on its website, being employed “at will” means that both you and your employer have the power to choose when to terminate your working relationship. Still, this doesn’t mean that employees are no longer protected by law from wrongful termination. The termination of an at-will employee for reasons protected by specific employment laws is definitely unacceptable.

According to the website of Cary Kane, LLP, wrongful terminations are usually a result of two general situations. The scenario most people are familiar with is termination as a discriminatory practice, done based on arbitrary factors such as age, gender, race, and sexual orientation. In other cases, termination is also done as an act of retaliation against an employee. A concrete example is when an employee is fired for having raised concerns regarding work-related issues such the employer’s failure to pay proper wages or continued encouragement of a discriminatory and hostile working environment.

Employment-at-will clauses give a lot of leeway for both employees and employers to terminate their working relationships at a moment’s decision. Despite this fact, these statutes shouldn’t be made reasons for why discriminatory practices proliferate in the workplace.