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At Will Employment Laws Related Questions

At will employment is an arrangement between an employer and an employee without a contract. This arrangement allows either party to end the employment without any liability. The employer may terminate the employee for good cause, bad cause, or no cause at all, and the employee may quit without cause or reason. There are many legal questions that can arise pertaining to at-will employment. Employment Lawyers on JustAnswer can answer any question that you may have regarding at will employment. Take a look at five of the top at will employment questions answered by the Experts.

What rights do at will employees have?

Without a written contract, an employee is considered an ‘at will’ employee, leaving the employee with few employment rights. This means that an employer can change the employee’s hours, change the employee’s wages or terminate the employee without cause. As long as an employer avoids discrimination based on race, gender, age or religion, or disability, the employer can treat the employment status of an at will employee any way that they choose to. Federal laws prohibit employers from discriminating against an employee for the reasons mentioned above, however, an employer can possibly discriminate in other ways. Promotions and pay raises can be at the employer’s discretion and the employer does not necessarily have to show the same treatment to all employees.

Can an employer force an at will employee to sign a resignation in exchange for severance pay?

Employers are not usually required by law to offer anything to an at will employee to make them resign. The employer can terminate an employee without cause or reason. Usually, if an employer wants an employee to resign, the employer is probably trying to protect himself from the employee gaining unemployment benefits. If employees resign, they are generally not eligible for unemployment. While employers are not required to offer severance agreements, if company policy or terms of a contract provide for severance pay, the employer will be obligated to abide by the policy or contract.

In New York, can a person sue an employer if they feel that they were unfairly terminated?

Because New York is an at-will employment state, in the absence of a written employee contract that states otherwise, an employer can terminate the services of an employee for no reason at all. An at-will employee has no rights to his or her job and the employment is usually at the discretion of the employer. An employer is not required to issue warnings or follow any type of disciplinary procedure before terminating an employee. However, if the employer has an employee manual or policy and procedure manual, there may be some legal relief even without a written employee contract. New York courts may possibly view these manuals to be similar to an employment contract. It is possible that the manual requires the employer to have cause in order to terminate an employee which could possibly over ride an at will status. If you want to proceed with wrongful termination, you may want to let an attorney review the policy manual and see if you have a possible case. You could also get a second opinion or a review of these documents from Employment Lawyers on JustAnswer to determine any legal recourse that you may have.

Is it illegal for an employer to replace a qualified worker with a less qualified worker based on their race?

If an employer replaces a qualified worker with an employee who is less qualified based on race, the employer is violating the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which states that it is unlawful to discriminate against a person based on race, gender, religion, and disability. If this is the only reason you were replaced, you should file a complaint Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for racial discrimination.

Can an employer terminate an at will employee who is on short or long term disability?

Under the FMLA provision, an eligible employee is allowed up to 12 weeks of protected unpaid leave per 12 month period. An employee should check with the company’s HR office to see what 12 months period is used to calculate the leaves. If an employee was to run out of job protection under the FMLA, legally the employee would be unlikely to have any job protection. However, the company may have a policy of allowing leaves of absence past the legal requirement. Without the FLMA job protection or the company allowing further leave, the employer could legally terminate the employee.

If you are an at will employee and have questions about at will employment laws, you can ask Employment Lawyers on JustAnswer. The Experts answer a wide variety of Employment Law questions regarding at will employment.
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