What does employment law say about “at will” employment versus “for cause” employment?

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What does employment law say about “at will” employment versus “for cause” employment?

What does employment law say about “at will” employment versus “for cause” employment?

Sometimes legal terms can cause confusion and be used interchangeably, so knowing what type of employee you are being hired as is important with regards to your rights under employment laws.

An “at will” employment situation means that your employer can terminate or fire you at a moment's notice for any reason, whether you feel its justified or not. Unless the termination violates some law, whether it is federal, state or even company policy, then really, there's nothing that this employee can do.

A “for cause” employee is protected a little further under the employment laws. This means that the employer cannot fire an employee without a legitimate and documented reason. Labor unions often protect against situations where employees are fired or terminated at will and often government employees are also protected against such practice.

The employment contract should state clearly that an employee is an “at will” employee if this is the status the employee is being hired for. If you feel that you have been terminated for unjust cause in this type of situation, an employment lawyer, familiar with the employment laws in your area will be able to assist you in making this determination.

   

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