The principle of at-will employment, which allows either the employer or the employee to terminate the employment relationship at any time and for any or no reason, is well-rooted in state common law. However, as with other areas of the law, employees continue to file lawsuits testing the limits of the at-will employment principle. The best defense to these lawsuits is an aggressive offense. This entails drafting applications, acknowledgements, employee handbooks and other employment-related documents that clearly and concisely set forth the employment-at-will relationship.
Clark Hill has extensive experience in drafting employment-related documents that minimize the chance for litigation. We also have been very successful in defending lawsuits challenging the at-will employment relationship. We recently obtained a voluntary dismissal of a just cause claim by sending the employment application for forensic testing. Contrary to the plaintiff’s deposition testimony, the forensic test proved that she had received the last page of our client’s application which contained the employment-at-will language. This creative approach was successful in getting the case dismissed and also saved our client substantial costs associated with prolonged litigation.