At-will Employment definition

At-will employment is a concept in American law whereby certain employment relationships can be terminated at any time by either the employer or the employee without giving a reason and with no potential for future liability for breach of contract.

Employment relationships are only eligible for at-will status if the contract contains no clause on term of employment and the employer does not recognise a union. It’s important to note that at-will employment is the default form of employment but can be easily overridden with contractual clauses or civil service statutes in the case of public sector workers.

Benefits of at-will employment include contributions to economic strength due to the ease of taking on and getting rid of workers – some scholars have identified at-will employment as of key benefit to the US economy.

However, the concept has attracted criticism, mostly because of the lack of job security for employees and the effect the instability of the relationship has on the employee’s ability to partake in modern society e.g. getting a mortgage or acquiring credit.