Sunday, July 15, 2007


1. Can my employer terminate me without a good reason?

Yes. In fact, most employees in the United States are at-will employees, even though most employees are unaware of this situation. In most states, the law presumes that private sector employees are employed "at-will." The employment-at-will doctrine provides that both the employer and the employee can end the employment relationship at any time without notice or reason. This means the employer has the right to terminate your employment at any time, for any reason, or for no reason at all or for a bad reason, so long as the reason is not illegal - even if you performance has been outstanding. The other side of the "at-will" coin is that you, as an employee, can quit your job for any reason at any time. You cannot be forced to work for an employer. You don't have to give your employer a reason for quitting.



irudedog said...

2. Are there any exceptions to the employment-at-will doctrine?

Yes, there are several exceptions. You are NOT an at-will employee if you have a contract, such as a Union contract. When an employee is covered under an employment contract, you can only be terminated as the contract permits. If the employer does not follow the contract in terminating or disciplining you, you may have a breach of contract claim.
A handbook or personnel code may also be a contract. However, if there is a disclaimer in your handbook, it may not be a contract. State laws vary in evaluating whether a handbook is a contract. You should consult your own state's law to determine if your state considers handbooks to be contracts between employers and employees.
All federal employees are protected from any termination that violates the United States Constitution or the constitution of the state in which they work. For example, an employee's rights to freedom of speech, association, religion, or freedom from unlawful search and seizure may be at issue when an employee is terminated. For more information about Federal Employees rights, check out Federal Employees Legal Survival Guide under the publications link on this page.
An employee may not be terminated for an illegal reason such as their race, sex, age, religion, nationality, or disability. If you believe you were terminated because of such a reason, please see our section on discrimination for additional information on the different types of illegal discrimination and on filing a discrimination claim.

Anonymous said...

In an ideal world, it would be great if HR really worked to protect the employees and did what was right and fair.

But in my experience (and I’m sure I’m not alone here), HR folks will rarely take action if you file a complaint, particularly if the complaint is against someone who makes a lot of money for the company, and/or if the person filing the complaint is junior in status.

Ultimately, money and power come into play. The company will turn a blind eye to inappropriate behavior on the part of the person who has power or generates lots of money for the firm.

Given that stark reality, the question is: what are you going to do about it? Huff and puff in indignation? Quit and keep trying new companies until you find a magical place where all is fair and just? Or do you try to work within the system?Or we could just organize and join the Teamsters and have some leverage,and a voice to be heard, and like you guys say be wise and organize!

Anonymous said...

Never go to HR about anything other than questions about vacation or insurance! They will document everything and keep on file. Do not trust them. Their purpose is to make sure that the company is safe from lawsuits. Hello, this is obvious to anyone who has had to deal with difficult HR situations. HR is a crock of shizzle!
Lets be wise and organize,let us join Fedex Frieght.

Anonymous said...

I am rallying because these laws are stripping away the basic rights of an employee that will ultimately affect the American way of life. In turn, a gap between the rich and poor will widen leading to higher crime rates and a breakdown of a great civilised society. I also have grave concerns for my children who could potentially be the working poor,I say yes to the Teamsters.

Anonymous said...

Because I want my family and my friends who have young children or who are planning to have children in the future to have the following:
1: A fair and comfortable lifestyle!
2: Time to spend with each other!
3: A secure job!
4: Access to equal or better conditions of employment than their parents have or had!
5: The right to join a union or other professional organization if the individual decides to do that!
6: Pay that covers increases in the cost of living!
7: The right to collective bargaining so that 1 employee in the organization doing exactly the same job as another employee in that organization have the same conditions of employment!