Is Your Employment At Will?
When you are hired at a new company, you would imagine the terms of your employment should be fairly clear. However, you would likely be surprised at how many people are unsure of whether they are employed “at will.” At-will employment means that either you or your employer can decide to end the employment agreement at any moment and for any reason – so long as the reason does not violate any laws, such as anti-discrimination laws. There does not even have to be any particular reason for the termination. Instead, your employer can terminate you simply because they feel like it or you can wake up and decide to quit out of the blue. While at-will employment is presumed in almost every state, not every employee is at will.
At-will employment has many benefits, however, it is highly important to know whether or not you are an at-will employee to both know whether your rights have been violated and to avoid any liability to your employer. In some cases, this may be relatively clear – for example, if you signed a document agreeing to an at-will employment relationship, you can be sure of your employment at will. However, if you are uncertain, consider the following factors to determine your employment status.
Do You Have An Employment Contract?
The major alternative to at-will employment is employment by contract. If you have a contract, both you and your employer must abide by the terms of that contract, which often include a certain length of employment. Neither you nor your employer would be able to terminate the relationship without good cause, otherwise you would be in breach of the contract. If you signed such as contract, you are not an at-will employee.
Often, employers have handbooks or other written policies that will state whether employees are at will or not. If a policy references at-will employment, then it should apply to all employees. This is true even if the policy does not specifically use the words “at will.” The policy need only state that either party can end the employment for “any reason” or similar language to mean at will. On the other hand, if a policy states that good cause is required for termination or otherwise references valid reasons for termination, it may mean that your employment is not at will.
Verbal statement made by your employer can be as binding as written contracts or policies in many situations. If your employer hired you and made statements that you could only be fired for failing to meet certain standards or for violating policies, then you could argue it is not an at will relationship.
Contact a Florida Employment Lawyer For Help Today
Knowing whether you are an at-will employee can be confusing but it is very important. If you are unsure if your rights have been violated, you should have an experienced Florida employment attorney review your situation, including any agreements, policies, or verbal statements that may apply. Please call the law office of Robert S. Norell, P.A. today at 800-796-0849 if you need assistance today.