Because of the recession the country is experiencing today, more people seek jobs in order to earn a living. And because of desperation, they may even be hired as at-will employees. While most people do not think of it as a big deal, it actually really is.

When you say at-will employment, it means that the employer has the right to terminate an employee within the duration of their contract. Similarly, the employee can also resign from the job even in the middle of the employment period. If these simple principles make up an at-will employment, what could possibly go wrong?

There are employers who hire at-will employees, and terminate them afterwards. There is nothing wrong with that because that is how an at-will employment works. However, most employers who terminate workers at-will do not have valid reasons for doing so. If this is the case, then the termination is deemed wrongful.

Under federal and state laws, an employer can only terminate an at-will employee if:

  • He is not competent enough for the job. As the owner of the company, he has the right to make sure that he pays employees who are worth paying. If an employee does not perform like his co-workers, you may give him a warning. If nothing changed, then he can be rightfully terminated.
  • His behavior towards his work and co-employees is unacceptable. If the employee creates a hostile work environment in the company, the production and operations of the company may be affected.
  • The company needs to cut it costs. Just in case the company needs to cut its budget, it can layoff some of its employees.
  • The employee has committed an employment violation or engaged in illegal activities. Employees who engage in illegal practices and activities can be fired at work any time during the employment period.

These are just some of the valid reasons for a company owner to terminate his employee. If he fires him without one of the reasons given above, the terminated employee has the right to file a wrongful termination claim against him. If the plaintiff wins the case, the employer would need to reinstate the employee to his former position and provide additional payments as damages.

Like any other type of employment, an at-will employment also has its own benefits. It is the responsibility of employers to inform their employees regarding these rights and benefits. For additional information regarding at-will employments and wrongful termination, they can consult a Los Angeles employment lawyer specializing in wrongful termination cases.