Bitter Pill for ‘At Will’ Employers

vickilynn by The Recruiters Lounge

Hiring ‘At Will’ No Longer A Protection Guarantee

Being an “at will” employee has long meant that an employer can fire you for any reason. You are employed “at the will” of the employer. For many years, employers have used this type of employment, to protect themselves from


However, employer’s should beware, writes business employment lawyer Jay E. Eckhaus, Esq. on the Recruiter’s Lounge blog. Eckhaus explains that state laws and court cases, are increasingly requiring employers to show “just cause” or a “rational business justification” for termination.  ‘At will’ is a dying breed according to Eckhaus.

Eckhaus also suggests that the employee handbook is the “instrument that erodes employment at will the most.” If your organization has a handbook with improperly written policies or outlines disciplinary steps, you may be entering into an ‘implied contract’ with employees. In other words, your handbook may imply that an employee “will remain employed as long as performance is satisfactory.”

Your handbook needs a specific disclaimer to protect ‘at will’ relationships. In addition, your employee manual should be:

  1. Written by an attorney skilled in business and employment law.
  2. Written to comply with state and federal law.
  3. Present company policies that are easy to implement, in plain English.
  4. Available in Spanish if you have employees whose primary language is Spanish.
  5. Use proper language to protect at will employment throughout, and in an employer’s day-to-day-operations.
  6. Up-to-date. State and federal laws frequently change, so must your company policies.

For additional, measures and methods for protecting ‘at-will’ employment at your company, be sure to read the full article. Eckhaus also offers a link where you can purchase a state-specific employee handbook.