Employment At Will Agreement

The Employment-At-Will Agreement is a type of contract that clearly states that the employer can dismiss their employee at any given time and for any reason.

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In today's corporate world and beyond, most employees are hired under Employment-At-Will Agreements. Of course, there are some exceptions, but most people enter the workforce with a clear understanding that they could be asked to leave at any point and for no reason.

On the other hand, the Employment-At-Will Agreement allows the same freedom to the employee in return. They can choose to resign whenever they want and without having to provide a reason for leaving.

What Is an Employment-At-Will Agreement?

In reality, both employers and employees rarely leave the company without notice from either side. However, the Employment-At-Will Agreement means they are entitled to such action if they choose to pursue it.

The Employment-At-Will Agreement is not all that different from a standard employment contract, only that it allows more flexibility to both parties signing it. The document should contain detailed terms of the agreements and the employee's obligations. 

Even though an Employment-At-Will Agreement might sound as if the employee can lose their job for no reason at some point, that is rarely the case. The formulation of the agreement is considered a mere legal formality.

Other Names for Employment-At-Will Agreement

Depending on your state, and Employment-At-Will Agreement may also be known as:

  • Employee At-Will Agreement
  • At-Will Contract of Employment
  • At-Will Job Contract
  • Employment Agreement

Who Needs an Employment-At-Will Agreement?

Essentially, anyone who is hiring may need an Employment-At-Will Agreement. Human resources departments usually have one ready to go when a new employee joins the team. An employee can draft an agreement, too, if the employer agrees with the terms.

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How to Create an Employment-At-Will Agreement with 360 Legal Forms

Any employer could use an Employment-At-Will Agreement. It is essential to make sure the document's baseline is the same for every employee, and the best way to do that is with a template.

Let 360 Legal Forms help with our extensive library of attorney-vetted legal forms. The process is fast and easy. All you have to do is fill out our easy-to-understand questionnaire. Once complete, simply download your form as a PDF or Word document from your secure online account.

What Information Will I Need to Create My Employment-At-Will Agreement?

To create your document, please provide:

  • Employer Details: The legal name of the company or employer, location, and contact information.
  • Employee Details: The legal name of the employee and contact information. 
  • Effective Date: The date when the agreement goes into effect.
  • Governing Law: The state's law used to interpret the contract.
  • Obligations: A detailed list of the employee's responsibilities.
  • Compensation: The wage the employee will get in return for services.
  • Benefits: List all of the benefits included in the agreement.
  • Duration: Specify the time of the contract.
  • Other Provisions: Include any additional clauses such as non-compete or non-disclosure.
  • Signatures: Both parties are required to sign the agreement.

Employment-At-Will Agreement Terms

  • At-Will: At one's will
  • Public Policy: A principle stating that no contract can be legal if it injures public good 
  • Promissory: A promissory statement (promise) 
  • Whistleblowing: Drawing attention to wrongdoing or unethical activity
  • Resignation: A decision of the employee to leave the job
  • Termination: A decision of the employer to can the employee
  • Arbitration: The process of settling a dispute outside the court
  • Non-Compete: An agreement to not compete against the employer's business 
  • Non-Disclosure: An agreement to not reveal any trade secrets or proprietary information of the employer
  • Exclusive Employment: An understanding that the employee will only work for one employer at a time.


Employment-At-Will Agreement Signing Requirements

To make it legally binding and enforceable, both the employer and employee must sign the Employment-At-Will Agreement. In general, witnessing or notarization is not required.

What to Do with Your Employment-At-Will Agreement

After both parties sign the Employment-At-Will Agreement, they should each receive a signed physical copy. The employer will add their document to the HR database, and the employee should keep his or her copy somewhere safe.

Frequently Asked Questions

Instituting a probationary period is a common practice of many employers when hiring new employees. For that amount of time, usually three months, but sometimes more, an employer is to evaluate the employee's performance before offering them a long-term position. During this time, both the employee and the employee assess whether they are the right fit for each other. After the probationary period is over, the employee does not have an obligation to hire the employee if they are not satisfied with their performance, and they can do so without incurring workers’ comp charges.

There are four different occasions where at-will agreements could be dismissed by a court of law. The first is there is a collective bargain agreement and such that prevent termination or resignation at will. The second is the Implied Contract, but it is on the employee to prove its existence. The third exception is Good Faith and Fair Dealing invoked when an employer is to terminate an employee without paying benefits or incurring other charges. Finally, if the agreement goes against public policy, it could be considered invalid.  

Even after an employer terminates the Employment-At-Will Agreement, the employee has certain rights. The first is the statutory right to file for unemployment benefits. Keep in mind that you can still be eligible for unemployment even if you resign, which may vary by state, and you may have to show cause. If you were terminated for discrimination of any kind, you also have the right to sue your former employer.  

An employee handbook is a written staff manual that outlines the company's values and principles. It also explains what sort of conduct is expected of the employees and what is considered misconduct. It is a type of booklet and offered to every new employee to get better acquainted with the company's culture. In the employee handbook, it's also often outlined that the employees are there at will and they can leave or be asked to leave at any time and for any reason.

If you lost your job for your gender, religion, race, sexual orientation, pregnancy status, whistleblowing, disability, or nationality, you might have grounds to sue for compensation under the law. The first step would be to hire an attorney who can help you assess the situation better and advise you on how best to proceed.

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Applicable to all 50 states
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