Note: Our Minnesota employment attorneys represent companies and executives.
Most employers hire employees without an employment contract that defines a specific length of employment or circumstances justifying employment. This type of employment is called “at-will.” It is at the will of each party. The employer may fire the employee at any time and for almost any reason, excluding prohibited discrimination and retaliation. Likewise, the employee may generally quit at any time, for any reason.
When hiring employees, it is important for employers to determine if the position is at-will and note this in writing. If this is the case, the employer has the authority to terminate employees at any time, for almost any reason. However, all employees are protected under state and federal laws that make certain reasons for firing illegal.
While you do not need an at-will agreement, often employers can refuse to hire a person for refusal to sign the at-will employment agreement.
Even if an employee is an employee at-will, the employee cannot be terminated for an unlawful reason. Listed below are many of the unlawful reasons that may give rise to an employee having a legitimate claim against you, the employer:
Some terminated employees mention Minnesota is a “right to work state” and mistakenly believe this gives them a right to their job. Right-to-Work laws are not related to wrongful termination. Right-to-Work laws relate to unions and “open shops” and prohibit agreements between labor unions and employers making membership or payment of union dues or fees a condition of employment, either before or after hiring.