Understanding "At-Will" Employment

There are many different types of employment, far beyond simply part-time or full-time. One of the most popular types that’s being utilized by more and more business for their employees is the classification known as “at-will.” We’re often approached by prospective clients with questions regarding their rights and abilities to pursue action against their employer when they’ve been designated as an at-will employee. To better help you understand what this means and what affect it could have on your employment, here are some of the important facts you need to know in order to better understand “at-will” employment.

“At-Will” Definition

The plainest and simplest definition of an at-will employee is that they could be terminated at any time and for any cause. At-will employees are not required to be given notice before their termination, and there are no set procedures that must be followed.

This arrangement doesn’t sound particularly great for employees, right? After all, who’s to stop your supervisor from firing you purely because they don’t like your favorite sports team? Well the good news is that you do still have rights as an employee. First off, you can’t be discriminated against on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, or any other relevant factor. Your rights cannot be taken away from you or broken, and your employer also cannot break labor laws, resulting in your termination, and likewise they cannot discriminate against you for reporting such violations.

The Effect of At-Will Employment

At-will employment is becoming extremely common because it doesn’t limit the ability employers have to manage their staff and control them as they will. Most companies who utilize this type of employment contract will tell their employees upfront or on hiring that they’re being brought in on an at-will basis. However, some employers’ words may negate this claim, such as when an employer says “you’ll always have a place here if you keep up the good work.” This implies a performance-based employment arrangement, not an at-will one.

If you believe you have been wrongfully terminated, look through the documents you signed upon being hired. If you can’t find any indication or mention of your status as an at-will employee, you may be able to argue that your employment was not on this basis, and you should talk to a Houston wrongful termination attorney as soon as possible.

Contact Shellist Lazaraz Slobin LLP today at (713) 352-3433 and request a case review with a wrongful termination lawyer in Houston to find out more about your rights as an at-will employee!
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