Friday, June 1, 2007

What Is "At-Will" Employment?

I have a small company and am planning on hiring some employees. How can I make sure that I am able to terminate them if they do not work out or I no longer need them?

Make clear to your employees that their relationship is an "at will employment" relationship. That means that either the employer or the employee can terminate the relationship at any time for any reason, or for no reason. (However, various laws may restrict your ability to fire someone for wrongful reasons, such as reasons related to race or sex.)

When you first hire an employee, make sure that he or she signs an offer letter indicating that he understands and agrees to the fact that he is an at will employee. That lessens the risk of a problem later on. If you have an employee handbook, make sure the employee handbook spells out the at will nature of the relationship.

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