Most employment agreements are considered at-will such as paid internships . This means that the employer or the employee may terminate the employment relationship at any time, for any reason, as long as the reason is not illegal. It does not make a difference whether the employee actually did anything wrong. If the employee is at-will, any reason, including no reason, is a proper basis for termination.   

Can an At-Will Employment Status Change?

At-Will Employment is considered to be the default status of employment by American courts. Such a status may change if both the employer and the employee agree to such a change in a legal contract.

What Are the Benefits of At-Will Employment?

An employee can benefit from this employment agreement. At-will agreements allow the employee mobility. Employees are free to quit their jobs at any time if they are in an at-will agreement without the fear that they are breaking an employment contract. An employer also benefits from the at-will employment agreement. The employer does not have to give a reason for firing, allowing them broad discretion for terminating employees.  

Can an Employer Fire Me If I Have Worked for a Long Time?

Maybe. If you are an at-will employee, you may be fired. However, there are many exceptions to the rule that any reason for firing is allowed under an at-will employment contract.

What Are Some of the Exceptions to At-Will Termination?

Some of the exceptions to At-Will Termination are listed below. This is not an exhaustive list; there may be other exceptions which are not included. Also, some states may not use these exceptions or may use different ones.

  • Federal Discrimination Laws, such as race, religion, gender, age, and handicap status.
  • Violation of State Public Policy
  • Implied Contracts
  • Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing

Seeking Legal Help

If you have an issue with at-will employment, you should contact an employment lawyer. A lawyer can help you understand your rights and can represent your interests in court if necessary.