Employment at Will - A Workplace Reality - Few People Comprehend the Meaning of Their Work Status

November 28, 2005

Most people never hear the term "employment at will," at least until they have been terminated from their employment for "no reason." However, they will hear it over and over again as they speak to different attorneys about that situation. As in most situations, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

For a Blue State, Massachusetts is very Red in terms of the employer/employee relationship. Massachusetts follows the doctrine that the employment relation between the employer and the employee is "at will". This means that either party can end the relationship at any time, with cause or without cause, for any reason or no reason. The only limitation is that the reason for termination cannot violate public policy, i.e. termination based on race, color, greed, sexual orientation, etc.

The ability of an employer to summarily terminate an employee seems unjust in a modern and seeming socially compassionate society. It resonates with the same reasoning that a person can be convicted of a crime without a trial. While this comparison maybe accurate, it is nonetheless true that the first is the law of the land, and the second is not.

The most common misconception is that an employee can only be terminated for cause; that the employee most either be not performing his duties, or that he violated some other well-recognized principle. While it is understandable that someone would believe this to be true, it is not...

You may read more at the link below.

by: Adam J. Basch, Esq.

BusinessWest
November 14, 2005

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