Training & Compliance

The Breakdown of At-Will Employment

Yesterday’s Advisor covered when at-will employment doesn’t hold up. Each state has many exceptions, and today we’ll cover a few more, as well as discuss how employers can make sure their at-will policies stick.

Situations Where At-Will Employment Will Not Apply, cont.:

In addition to when an at-will employment is superseded by an actual contract, an implied contract, or caused by illegal discrimination, there is another common exception:

  • When “implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing” applies:
    • In some states, an “implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing” effectively precludes employers from terminating without cause. This phrase does not have a detailed definition, and has been interpreted by the courts to mean employers should have just cause for termination as opposed to terminating based on bad faith, spite, or for an arbitrary reason. In practical terms, this hasn’t been applied often, but would be most likely to be upheld in cases (in applicable states) where it appears the employer is acting in an unfair manner, such as terminating an employee just before an anniversary that would accrue the employee additional benefits.

There are also a few other possible exceptions. Always consult legal counsel before proceeding if you’re unsure.


If you don’t have quality recruiters, how can you recruit quality employees? Start on Tuesday, October 20, 2015, with a new interactive webinar—Hone Those Recruiting Skills! The Top 10 Actions That Will Make You an Exceptional Recruiter. Learn More.


What Can Employers Do to Ensure At-Will Status Remains Intact?

Employers who wish to retain at-will status should:

  • Ensure that their policies do not create implied contracts. Get legal assistance to confirm.
  • Include a disclaimer in the employee handbook stating that it does not create an implied contract.
  • Designate which individuals are allowed to change employment terms, and state to employees that only those individuals have the authority to do so. (In other words, a supervisor’s comment does not equal an employment guarantee or contract.)
  • Reserve the right to modify employment terms at any time, with or without notice.
  • Have employees sign an acknowledgement that employment is at-will.

Employers need to be aware that at-will is not all-encompassing, and need to ensure that their team understands this policy.

Considering complex HR concerns like at will employment is just part of what HR Managers have to deal with. Making sure that you are hiring the best people with an efficient process is another.

Because the talent marketplace, the job search process and the availability of top talent have all changed dramatically, even your most experienced recruiters can struggle unless they update their skill sets and their recruiting tools. How to get there? Fortunately there’s timely help in the form of BLR’s new webinar—Hone Those Recruiting Skills! The Top 10 Actions That Will Make You an Exceptional Recruiter. In just 60 minutes, on Tuesday, October 20, you’ll learn everything you need to know about making your recruiters and recruiting strategies alike exceptional!

Register today for this interactive webinar.


Make your good recruiters into exceptional recruiters. Join us Tuesday, October 20, 2015, for a new interactive webinar, Hone Those Recruiting Skills! The Top 10 Actions That Will Make You an Exceptional Recruiter. Earn 1 hour in HRCI Recertification Credit and 1 hour in SHRM Professional Development Credit. Register Now.


By participating in this interactive webinar, you’ll learn how to:

  • The difference in the results produced by an exceptional recruiter compared to an average recruiter.
  • How, by utilizing metrics and data, exceptional recruiters can take the guesswork out of determining the most effective sources, assessment approaches, and candidate closing approaches.
  • The top 10 action steps that make all the difference in your recruiting results.
  • How individual recruiters can determine which of your current recruiting approaches are working and not working.
  • Common recruiting roadblocks and how to work around them.
  • How you can dramatically improve your recruiting results by focusing on targeted employee referrals.
  • Who are the benchmark firms with the most innovative and leading-edge recruiting practices that you can learn from?
  • What are the trends and next practices that we can expect to see emerging over the next 18 months?
  • And much more!

Register now for this event risk-free.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. (Eastern)
1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. (Central)
12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. (Mountain)
11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (Pacific)

Approved for Recertification Credit and Professional Development Credit

This program has been approved for 1 credit hour toward recertification through the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI) and 1 credit hour towards SHRM-CPSM or SHRM-SCPSM.

Join us on Tuesday, October 20, 2015—you’ll get the in-depth Hone Those Recruiting Skills! The Top 10 Actions That Will Make You an Exceptional Recruiter webinar AND you’ll get all of your particular questions answered by our experts.

Find out more

Train Your Entire Staff

As with all BLR®/HR Hero® webinars:

  • Train all the staff you can fit around a conference phone.
  • Get your (and their) specific phoned-in or e-mailed questions answered in Q&A sessions that follow the presentation.

Find out more