'At Will' Employment Law Explained And Understanding Your Rights

Issues or disputes regarding 'at will' employment is something that is dealt with on a daily basis by a highly skilled employment attorney. So Cal and the surrounding areas have some of the best Los Angeles employment lawyers in the country and are well versed in the laws surrounding 'at will' employment.

For many potential employees the term 'at will' employment brings a look of disdain as they believe that it automatically means that as employees, they have absolutely no rights. However this isn't strictly true, and in fact, contrary to popular belief, an employer still has to tread carefully when terminating the employment of an individual under the guise of 'at will'

So what exactly is 'at will employment'?

If a person is employed on an at will basis it means that an employer can terminate the services of the employee without having to give a specific reason. The right to be able to hire and fire at will is not without its critics but was put in place so that businesses could down size and up scale their workforce, without being tied into long term contracts in order to match the demands of the economy.

So when can you not be fired?

As any Los Angeles employment lawyer will tell you there are circumstances under which you cannot be fired under the 'at will' law. Some examples are as follows...

Protective groups

Under at will law an employer is not permitted to fire an employee for being in a protected group. The words protected groups pertains to any employee who is in a minority in a workforce, it could be because of gender, sexual orientation, race, age, ethnicity, religion, whistleblowers etc). For example, if a workforce is predominantly made up of white males aged 30 and under, a black male aged 50 can be in several protected groups on the account of his age and skin color. Likewise a Hindu woman could also be in several protective groups because of her religion, ethnicity and indeed gender.

Although an employer has to tread carefully when terminating the employment of a person within a protective group this doesn't necessarily mean that their employment cannot be terminated, although it has to be said that this is sometimes very difficult to prove. An employer needs to prove that the employee in question has been terminated for reasons other than their protective group status. It could be because of possible disciplinary failings or because of bad timekeeping, or because of their inability to carry out the task that they were employed for. However if the employee has been a model worker and they are in a protective group, then the task will be made that much more difficult, if not impossible.

Retaliation... An LA employment attorney explains...

Any at will employee who has made a complaint regarding any illegal activity, harassment, or issues of health and safety cannot be fired as a result of this, and is otherwise known as retaliation. Again, this doesn't mean that a 'whistleblower' can never be fired on the proviso that the employer can prove that it has nothing to do with the whistle blower activity and that all disciplinary procedures have been adhered to prior to the termination.

Exercising your legal rights

Any employee has certain legal rights that they are entitled to and under no circumstances can an employer fire an individual because of this. This is explained by an employment attorney.... Los Angeles employees who have been summoned to attend jury service for example cannot be fired because they have had to take time off work. Also under this guise of 'exercising your legal rights' comes attending medical appointments, taking time off to serve in the military, or voting.

As you can see, as an at will employee you probably do have more rights than you think and as a result if you believe that you have had your employment terminated because of one or more of the above reasons then you should contact an employment attorney. Los Angeles and the surrounding areas have some of the best in the business who are only too happy to help.