Managing liabilities, as we’ve mentioned before on this blog, is an important ongoing project for businesses, regardless of the size of the business. Liabilities come in all shapes and sizes, though, and it is particularly important for business to pay attention to big ones. Among these are employment disputes.
Employment disputes can pertain to a variety of issues, such as non-competition agreements, discrimination and harassment claims, wage and payment matters, and termination/separation issues. Problems in these areas can take a lot of time and resources to resolve, and it is important for companies to establish sound internal policies to quickly resolve any such disputes that arise.
Looking at the issue of termination disputes, companies first of all need to understand that employment is at will in most states in the nation. Companies are free, of course, to contract with employees to provide a higher standard of protection, but this isn’t required in most states. Absent some sort of agreement to the contrary, the presumption is that an employee is free to leave at will, and may be terminated at will. In addition, an employer may change the terms of employment at will.
There are certain exceptions or limitations on at-will employment which have been established by the courts and under state and federal statutes, and it is important for employers to have a strong understanding of them so as to ensure compliance with the law and avoid liabilities.
In our next post, we’ll take a look at some of these exceptions and limitations.
Vegasinc.com, “How to fend off business litigation monsters,” Patrick Reilly, Dec. 7, 2015.
National Conference of State Legislatures, “The at-will presumption and exceptions to the rule,” Accessed Dec. 9, 2015.