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Employed "At Will": What Does That Mean?

Employment At Will: The Most Commonly Misunderstood Principle in the Workplace Most Americans have a general understanding of the "employment at will" doctrine. They understand that it means that they are not guaranteed employment for any specific period of time. In general, and at...

Bullying and At-Will Employment

David Yamada is a law professor and the director of the New Workplace Institute at Boston's Suffolk University Law School. He is also the author of the Healthy Workplace Bill , draft model legislation that, if ever passed, would impose liability on employers for employees who are bullied in the...

Good Luck Overcoming the At-Will Employment Presumption in PA

In Pennsylvania, as in most states, an employee without a contract for a specific term of employment is deemed an at-will employee. Subject to certain exceptions ( e.g. , discrimination, violations of public policy), an at-will employee can be terminated for any reason or no reason at all. How...

Orange-Americans Unite: Stand Up For Yourselves!

Did you hear the one about the 14 employees who were fired for wearing orange shirts ? If you didn't, you don't live in the UK or Ghana or anywhere in the U.S., because the story made the international news. I think the story hit a chord with people everywhere because it was just so outrageous...

Wearin' of the Orange? You Are Fired!

Last Saturday was St. Patrick's Day, and many employees celebrated it on Friday by wearing green and getting together after work. A story reported that 14 employees of a Florida law firm were fired for wearing orange shirts. Traditionally, the color orange has been associated with the Protestant...

A Simple Solution To Unjust At-Will Laws

Most employers can fire you for any reason or no reason at all. As I say in my upcoming book, that means they can fire you because they didn't like your shoes that day. Or, as it turns out, the color of your shirt . The law definitely needs to change. This appalling situation could happen...

Get Rid of At-Will Employment? Give Me a Break!

On Donna Ballman's blog, Screw You Guys, I'm Going Home , she argues for a radical change to at-will employment. She believes that unemployment hearing officers should have the power to reinstate, with back pay, anyone fired without just cause: Most employers can fire you for any reason...

The Story of Ozzie and Fidel: There is No Free Speech in Corporate America

The Miami Marlins suspended new Manager Ozzie Guillen for saying: "I love Fidel Castro," and "I respect Fidel Castro. You know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years, but that mother-f***er is still here." First it was reported as a suspension...

Barran Liebman Alert: The Oregon Supreme Court Isn't Really Attacking At Will Employment

On March 7, 2013, the Oregon Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals' decision in Cocchiara v. Lithia Motors, Inc. [ an enhanced version of this opinion is available to lexis.com subscribers ], and held that when a job applicant reasonably relies on an offer of at-will employment and that...

How Much Does It Cost to Defend an Employment Lawsuit?

Last Friday I had the pleasure of appearing on Huffington Post Live, in a segment entitled, "You're Fired! No really." We discussed the current state of employment at-will, and whether American workers need greater protections from being terminated without just cause.If you've read...

No Wrongful Discharge Claim for Firing of Employee/Shareholder in Retaliation for Her Exercise of Her Statutory Inspection Rights

You probably know that North Carolina is an employment-at-will state. That means that in the absence of any employment contract, you can be fired from your job at any time, for good reason, no reason at all, or even a bad reason. There's a skinny exception to that rule: that an employee cannot...

Employment at Will in Michigan's Public Sector

The University of Michigan was sued for discrimination based on sexual preference by a law professor who was denied tenure. The claim for breach of breach of an implied contract was based in part on the university's policy statements concerning non discrimination. The university raised then abandoned...

The Whistleblower and At Will Employment: Timing Is Not Everything

One of the cardinal rules for employers is the documentation of performance issues. Advise the employee of the issue, and document the conversation and what was discussed. A lack of documentation, although not advisable, is not necessarily fatal as was recently shown in an unreported Michigan court of...

Still Causing Problems: Employee Handbooks and At-Will Employment

For many employers, employee handbooks are used to detail what is expected of employees without binding employers to follow any particular policy. It is the "have your cake and eat it" approach which is part of a larger strategy to maintain at will employment. Problems arise however when employers...

States With Pro-Employee Laws: No At-Will Employment Equals Fewer Employee Suits

(Or, States That Don't Suck For Employees, Part II) I was doing some research for this series on pro-employee state laws and ran across a piece by that bastion of liberalism, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce rating states either Good, Fair or Poor for employers. It's been a fantastic source of...

Employer Loyalty: Baseball Style

Employee loyalty begins with employer loyalty. Your employees should know that if they do the job they were hired to do with a reasonable amount of competence and efficiency, you will support them. -- Harvey Mackay Imagine that you are an executive who just completed your first year on the job. At your...