At-Will Employment Agreement Form

As a business owner, implementing at-will employment limits your liability and increases your flexibility when terminating employees. Create an at-will employment form today using verified templates.

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Last Update May 20th, 2024

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What Is At-Will Employment

At-will employment is a working arrangement that can be terminated by either the employer or employee at any time and without cause and with no notice.

However, an at-will employee cannot be let go for any reason such as disability, sexual or racial discrimination. In addition, the firing cannot be in a retaliatory nature or in violation of public policy.

This type of working relationship decreases the liability of both parties in the event that employment is terminated by either the employer or employee.

At-Will Employment Exceptions

There are various exceptions to the reasons why an employer can end employment in an at-will employment relationship. In this section, we will explore both the federal and state exceptions you should consider when terminating this type of employee.

Federal Exceptions

Federal law prohibits employers from ending at-will employment for the following reasons:

  • Discrimination: based on race, gender, religion, age, or national origin.
  • Alien status: based on the immigration status of the employee (assuming they are legally allowed to work within the United States).
  • OSHA requirements: workplace or other hazards reported to OSHA.
  • Polygraph testing: employees cannot be required to take part in a lie detector test.

State Exceptions

There are various types of state exceptions that may stop employers from ending at-will employment relationships. The most common of these are as follows:

  • Implied contract exceptions: if there is an implied contract between an employer and employee, even if there is no written document, then the employee cannot be fired. This implication typically arises from oral suggestions or employee handbooks describing termination policies.
  • Good faith exceptions: employers cannot fire employees at-will when the termination is driven by malintent or bad faith. This is also known as the good faith and fair dealings covenant.

Public policy exceptions: certain states have public policy exceptions to at-will employment, forbidding employers from firing at-will employees for reasons that involve the employee’s compliance with state policy (such as exercising their legal rights).

At-Will Employment Contract Terms

An at-will employment contract should include various terms for it to be valid. These are as follows:

  • Name of the employer
  • Name of the employee
  • Employee’s address, I.D number, and contact details
  • Date of employment
  • Duration of employment
  • Work scope
  • Compensation and perks
  • Notice of termination
  • Potential modifications
  • Performance specifications
  • Confidentiality or non-disclosure

How to Write an At-Will Employment Contract

Writing an at-will employment contract involves numerous different steps. It’s important to properly follow this process to ensure that the document is legally valid and will not leave you open to legal issues.

Follow these steps to write an at-will employment agreement:

  • Find an at-will employment agreement template
  • Introduce the employer and employee in an initial statement
  • Add the terms of employment
  • Include extra factors applying to the working agreement
  • Define how intellectual property should be handled
  • Document the main rules governing the working arrangement
  • Insert space for the details and signatures of both employee and employer

At-Will Employment Contract Sample

Before writing your own at-will employment agreement, it’s helpful to look over an example of this type of form. This will familiarize you with how the document should look when completed and what it needs to include.

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Employment Contract at Will Sample

FAQs

If you still have doubts about beginning your own at-will employment agreement form, there’s no need to worry. Explore our frequently asked questions to clear up any remaining questions and get started with your own document today.

What Does At-Will Employment Mean?

At-will employment refers to an employer’s ability to dismiss an employee for any reason and without notice or specific cause. It also means an employee can quit at any time for any or no reason.

This type of working structure has grown in popularity in recent years as it affords more flexibility to both parties.

What Are the Rights of an At-Will Employee?

There are various state and federal exceptions to firing an at-will employee. These can range from rules against firing based on discriminatory reasons to public policy regulations. You are also not allowed to fire an employee following an at-will employment agreement that has an implied contract or for reasons stemming from bad faith.

What Are the Reasons to Investigate an At-Will Employee?

It is not necessary to investigate an employee before terminating their at-will employment. This is because they can be dismissed at any time for any reason as long as it is not against state or federal laws.

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Employment Contract at Will Sample

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Preview of your At Will Employment Contract

EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT
This Employment Contract (hereinafter, the “Contract”), is dated as of _________ (hereinafter, the “Effective Date”), and is entered into by and between the following Parties:

_________, with a permanent address at _________, on behalf of _________ (hereinafter, the “Employer”),

and

_________ with a permanent address at _________ (hereinafter, the “Employee”).
WHEREAS,

1) _________ is engaged in the business of _________.

2) _________ desires to employ and retain the services of _________ according to the terms and conditions hereinafter set forth.

3) _________ desires to enter into such employment upon the terms and conditions hereinafter set forth.
In consideration of this mutual understanding, the Employer and the Employee (hereinafter, the “Parties”) covenant and agree as follows:
1. JOB TITLE AND RESPONSIBILITIES

1) _________ hereby employs _________ as a(n) _________.

2) _________ hereby accepts such employment, and agrees to abide by _________ and _________'s supervisory personnel rules, regulations, policies, and practices, including those concerning work schedules, vacation, and sick leave, as they may from time to time be adopted or modified.

3) _________ will perform the services described on the attached Exhibit A, which is made a part of this Contract by this reference.

4) _________'s title and responsibilities may be changed by agreement during the course of this Contract. However, the terms and conditions set forth in this Contract shall remain in full force and effect, unless otherwise specified by the Parties.
Best Efforts of Employee: _________ will at all times faithfully, industriously, and to the best of _________'s ability, experience, and talents, perform all the duties that may be required by the express and implicit terms of this Contract, to the reasonable satisfaction of _________. Such duties shall be provided at such place(s) as the needs, business, or opportunities of _________ may require from time to time.
2. PLACE OF WORK

_________ will primarily perform the job duties at the following location:

     - _________.
3. TERM
Indefinite Term: This Contract shall become effective on the _________ and shall continue to have effect for an indefinite term of years, unless otherwise terminated in accordance with the provisions of this Contract.
4. OWNERSHIP OF WORK

_________ acknowledges and agrees that all intellectual property and related material, including but not limited to any copyrightable works, ideas, discoveries, inventions, patents, products, or other information (hereinafter, the “Work Product”), performed under this Contract shall be owned by and belong exclusively to _________.

If requested by _________, _________ will provide and execute all necessary documentation to confirm or perfect the ownership of _________ to the Work Product.
5. TERMINATION

1) Employee's Termination: _________ shall have the right to terminate this Contract at any time, with or without notice, in accordance with applicable local, state, and federal labor laws.

2) Employer's Termination: _________ shall have the right to terminate this Contract at any time, with or without notice, in accordance with applicable local, state, and federal labor laws.

If _________ is in violation of this Contract, _________ may terminate employment without notice and with compensation to _________ only to the date of such termination. The compensation paid under this Contract will be considered _________'s exclusive remedy.
6. NOTICES

Any and all notices, requests, demands, or other communications to be given under this Contract must be given (i) in writing and (ii) personally delivered, mailed, or transmitted by electronic mail to the Party to whom such notice or communication is directed.

Notices will be deemed received when hand delivered, delivered by agent, seven (7) days after being placed in the post, postage prepaid, or three (3) days after transmission by electronic mail, addressed as follows:
     Employer:

     _________
     _________
     _________
     Employee:

     _________
     _________
     _________
Change of Address: Either Party may, from time to time, change its address by providing written notice to the other Party in the aforementioned manner.
7. GENERAL PROVISIONS
Governing Law: This Contract shall be governed, construed and interpreted in accordance with the laws of the .
Non-Discrimination: The Parties shall not discriminate against any Employee or participant in the performance of the duties, responsibilities, and obligations under this Contract because of race, color, religion, gender, age, marital status, disability, political or religious beliefs, national or ethnic origin.
Entire Agreement: This document constitutes the entire agreement and understanding between the Parties, and supersedes all prior agreements and understandings, whether oral or written, with respect to the subject matter of this Contract.
Severability: This Contract will be enforced to the fullest extent permitted by applicable law. If for any reason any term or provision of this Contract is held to be invalid or unenforceable, such invalidity or unenforceability will not affect any other term or provision of it. However, the Parties shall cease performing such invalid or unenforceable provision and negotiate in good faith to replace such invalid or unenforceable provision with a valid, legal and enforceable one consistent with its original purpose.
Amendment: This Contract may be amended or modified as needed. However, any modification, variation, or amendment of it shall only be valid if made in writing and duly signed by the Parties obligated under the amendment.
Waiver Of Contractual Right: The waiver by either Party of a breach, default, delay, or omission of any of the provisions of this Contract by the other Party will not be construed as a waiver of any subsequent breach of the same or other provisions.
IN WITNESS AND AGREEMENT WHEREOF, _________, on behalf of _________ has executed this Contract with the consent of _________, given here in writing. This Contract is effective as of the date _________ above written.


By: ___________________________________       Date: __________________
       _________
       _________


By: ___________________________________       Date: __________________
       _________
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