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Are you an at-will employee?

You probably feel fairly secure in your job in Beverly Hills. You come to work every workday, perform the functions expected of you and avoid practices that would merit any disciplinary action. How, then, could your boss one day fire you out of the blue?

Like most, you probably think that your employer has to have cause in order to terminate you. That is where you would be wrong.

At-will employment

Per Section 2922 of California’s Labor Code, any party to an employment agreement can terminate such an agreement at any time. What this essentially means is that your employer can fire you without having to provide you with a legitimate reason. Therefore, even if you strive to do your utmost while on the job, your employer does not need to have cause to let you go, even for reasons unrelated to your performance.

While the benefits of at-will employment may seem to be one-sided, in fact they go both ways. Notice how that law stipulates that your employment can end at the will of either party. This means that you can quit your job whenever you like without needing to provide your employer with a reason as to why.

Notable exceptions

There are exceptions to the rule of at-will employment. The first and most obvious is where you have an employment contract. If your contract stipulates that you will remain employed for a certain period of time as long as you fulfill your terms, your employer cannot fire you unless you violate those terms.

You may also argue that you have an implied contract with your employer. For example, your employer may maintain an employee handbook or post policies for workers to read implying that adherence to said policies will guarantee your employment. In this case, you could claim that meets the standard of having an implied contract.

The final exception to at-will employment is where a firing violates the law or public policy. Your employer cannot fire you for discriminatory reasons or for refusing to act in a way that is unlawful.