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What to Know About Employment in an At-Will StateClient-Focused & Passionate Representation

What to Know About Employment in an At-Will State


Florida, like most other states in the country, is what is known as an at-will state for employment purposes. Indeed, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), “employment relationships are presumed to be ‘at-will’ in all US states except Montana,” and the “US is one of a handful of countries where employment is predominantly at-will.” Whether you are in an at-will employment relationship in Palm Beach Gardens or you have an employment contract, it is important to understand your rights and your employer’s responsibilities under Florida state and federal law. Our experienced Palm Beach Gardens employment law attorneys can tell you more about at-will employment in Florida.

Defining At-Will Employment 

In order to understand your rights as an employee, and your employer’s responsibilities, in an at-will state like Florida, it is essential to have a clear understanding of what at-will employment means. What is at-will employment?

In short, as the NCSL explains, being in an at-will employment relationship means that an employee can leave their job at any time, and for any reason, without any adverse consequences, and an employer can terminate an employee at any time, and for nearly any reason, without any adverse consequences.

Exceptions to the Presumption of At-Will Employment

Of course, there are important exceptions to know about, as the Cornell Legal Information Institute (LII) highlights. Significant exceptions include:

  • Termination in violation of state or federal law (i.e., an employee cannot be terminated for any discriminatory reason that violates laws designed to prohibit discrimination, in retaliation for exercising a right under state or federal law, or for whistleblowing);
  • Termination in violation of an implied contract; and/or
  • Termination in violation of an employment contract (meaning that the employment clearly is not actually at-will employment).

There may be other exceptions that apply to your case, as well. If you were terminated from an at-will position and you believe you experienced wrongful termination, you should discuss your case with an attorney.

Employment Contracts Versus At-Will Employment 

When you are an at-will employee, you do not have an employment contract with your employer. Once you enter into an employment contract, then the employer-employee relationship is bound by the terms of that contract.

However, it is important to remember that employment contracts are also governed by certain laws. In other words, employment contracts can contain a number of different agreements between the employer and the employee, but there are certain agreements that will not be enforced by a court. For example, employment contracts can address issues like pay, benefits, non-compete agreements, and termination. Yet employees cannot be bound by unreasonable non-compete agreements, for example, an employee cannot waive certain rights they have under state or federal law in an employment contract.

Contact a Palm Beach Gardens Employment Lawyer 

If you have any questions about the nature of your employment relationship and your rights and responsibilities, or if you need assistance with an employment contract review or a wrongful termination case, a lawyer can help you. Do not hesitate to get in touch with an experienced Palm Beach Gardens employment law attorney at Sconzo Law Office to find out more about how we can assist you.





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