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Employment At-Will: Federal

Employment At-Will requirements by state

Authors: Beth C. Rogers, Law Offices of Beth C. Rogers, LLC and Darrell R. VanDeusen, Kollman & Saucier


  • Absent a written agreement stating otherwise, employment relationships are presumed to be at-will, except in Montana. At-will means that an employer can terminate an employee at any time for any reason, or for no reason, but not for an illegal reason. Likewise, an employee is free to leave a job at any time for any or no reason with no adverse legal consequences. See The At-Will Employment Relationship.
  • State courts and legislatures have developed exceptions to the at-will presumption. These exceptions include contracts, statutory protections and public policy. See Most Common Exceptions to Employment At-Will.
  • Even if no employment contract exists or no statutory protection is available to a terminated employee, an at-will employee may challenge his or her discharge asserting certain tort claims. See Tort Exceptions.