Magic At-Will Employment Disclaimer Language

When employers make written offers of employment or provide written employment policies to employees, such as Employee Handbooks, it is generally advisable for the employer to include a disclaimer stating that the employment is at-will.  The purpose of an at-will disclaimer is to prevent an employee from mistakenly believing that he or she is entitled to employment for a specified period of time or is entitled to other protections with respect to the employment.

In most cases, the following language will be sufficient to disclaim any intent to alter the at-will employment relationship:

Employment with the Company is at will unless otherwise stated in a written agreement signed by the President of the Company.  This means that either the Company or the employee can terminate the employment at any time and for any reason, with or without notice.

Employers should be careful, however, with respect to language that suggests “that the at-will employment relationship cannot be amended, modified, or altered in any way.”  An administrative law judge recently held that language interfered with employees’ rights under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act.

Takeaway:  The presumption that employment is at-will is an important protection for most employers.  By including at-will employment disclaimers on key documents, employers can increase the odds that they will be able to benefit from the protections of the employment-at-will doctrine.

About Michael Miller

Michael is a Chambers-rated attorney in Briggs and Morgan's Employment, Benefits, and Labor group and is head of the firm’s Employment Law Counseling and Compliance practice group. He has 25 years experience counseling employers to prevent unwanted litigation and advises companies of ongoing changes in federal, state and local employment law. Michael advises employers in all areas of employment law including discipline and discharge, leaves of absence, wage and hour compliance, non-compete and confidentiality agreements, affirmative action plans, background checking, and drug/alcohol testing. For Michael's full bio, click here.

Posted on November 5, 2012, in Employment At Will, Employment Policies and Agreements, Hiring and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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