At-will employment is a term utilized in the American labor law for contractual relationships. Under this law an employee can be easily dismissed by his or her employer for any reason and without warning. So, when an employee is acknowledged as being hired at will, courts normally deny the employee any claim for loss resulting from his or her dismissal. The given rule is fully justified by its proponents on the basis that an employee might be similarly entitled to leave his or her job without warning or reason. In contrast, the practice is considered to be unjust by those viewing the employment relationship as characterized by apparent inequality of bargaining power.
At-will employment gradually turned to be default requirement under the common law of the employment contract in the vast majority of US states during the late 19th century, and it was endorsed by the US Supreme Court during the Lochner era, exactly when members of the US judiciary consciously tried to prevent government regulation of labor markets. Over the 20th century, most states dared to modify the rule by simply adding an increasing number of exceptions. They also changed the default expectations in the employment contract. In workplaces with a trade union recognized for the purpose of collective bargaining, and in numerous public sector jobs, the regular standard for dismissal is that the employer should have a just cause. Otherwise, it should subject to statutory rights. Many states adhere to the general principle, which an employer as well as employees might contract for the dismissal protection they pick up. At-will employment is still controversial, and it remains the number one topic of debate in the study of law and economics. It particularly refers to the macroeconomic efficiency of allowing employers to arbitrarily and summarily fire employees.
At-will employment normally states that any hiring is presumed to be at will, so the employer is absolutely ufree to discharge his employees for good or bad cause or even no cause at all. At the same time the employee is totally free to strike, quit and cease work at any time.
At-will employment disclaimers are a common staple of employee handbooks in America. US employers can define what at-will employment actually means. Nevertheless, the National Labor Relations Board has already opposed as unlawful the practice of including in such disclaimers language stating that the at-will nature of the employment can’t be changed without the written consent of management.
At-will employment is a term utilized in the American labor law for contractual relationships. Under this law an employee can be easily dismissed by his or her employer for any reason and without warning. So, when an employee is acknowledged as being hired at will, courts normally deny the employee any claim for loss resulting from his or her dismissal.