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What is an at-will employee?

Most employees in the United States are at-will employees. Even so, some are unsure what this classification means or may not even know that they are counted in this group.

Essentially, an at-well employee is just someone who has agreed to work for a certain business as long as both sides want that relationship to continue. If the employer wants to fire the employee, they can do so immediately and they do not have to fire them for cause. If the employee wants to quit, they can also do that immediately, and they do not have to provide a reason.

Illegal reasons

One thing to remember is that employers still can’t terminate employees for illegal reasons, even if they are working under at-will employment laws. These employees may not have a contract, but it can still be a wrongful termination if they were fired because of their race, gender, age, religion or something else of this nature. Employees do have to be treated fairly and have certain legal protections.

What about a two weeks’ notice?

It’s very common for employers to request that employees give a two weeks’ notice before they quit. Employees can decide to honor this if they would like, often because they want a good reference from that employer in the future. But it’s important to note that, even though the employer may adamantly make this request, they cannot require it. Employees do not have to provide two weeks’ notice and they do have the right to quit at any time under current labor laws.

Resolving disputes

Have you found yourself involved in a dispute, perhaps over the way you were terminated? If so, be sure you know what legal steps to take next.


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