Employment at Will: A State-by-State Survey, Second Edition

Employment at Will: A State-by-State Survey provides a comprehensive analysis of the employment-at-will doctrine in every state. The desk reference uses the same set of topics for each state, facilitating both comparative and single-state research.


The employment at will doctrine allows an employer to discharge an employee for a good reason, a bad reason, or no reason at all. However, the doctrine has gradually been eroded over the years through legislative and regulatory enactments, as well as by court decisions relying on the common law, and each state has developed its own unique version, with unique exceptions and limitations.

Now revised in its Second Edition, Employment at Will: A State-by-State Survey is a comprehensive analysis of the employment at will doctrine, its exceptions, and limitations. Equally valuable for attorneys who represent individual employees and for those who represent employers, the treatise uses a uniform topic structure to provide a comparative view across states, as well as to allow for research on an individual state. This format is extremely helpful for lawyers with a multi-jurisdictional practice, who represent companies with employees in multiple states, or who seek persuasive authority to expand or limit the law in their own state. 

The 2018 Supplement updates the treatise with coverage current through December 31, 2017, and considers questions including:  

  • Does the public policy exception apply to the termination of an employee in retaliation for complaining about sexual harassment? (Utah)

  • Can a defendant breach the covenant of good faith and fair by failing to do something it has no obligation to do? (District of Columbia)

  • Does an employee’s lengthy tenure of employment, regular job promotions, and history of positive performance reviews alter the at-will relationship and establish an implied contract for employment? (Florida)

  • Are personnel manuals stating that employees can be terminated only for cause and setting forth termination procedures considered contracts of employment? (Georgia)
  • Does the public policy exception apply to the termination of “mandatory reporter” pre-school teachers who were planning to report that one of their students was being abused or neglected? (Pennsylvania)


Coverage in each state chapter includes:

  • The creation of enforceable employment agreements through employee handbooks, written personnel policies, and oral assurances
  • Common law claims for wrongful discharge
  • The implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing
  • The public policy exception to the doctrine of employment at will
  • The burden of proof necessary to sustain a claim of wrongful discharge
  • What constitutes “just cause” for purposes of termination
  • The effect of disclaimers on the employment at will relationship
  • Potential damages in a wrongful discharge claim
  • Related tort claims arising out of the employment relationship, including fraud, intentional interference with a contract, defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, and invasion of privacy
  • State statutes prohibiting termination based on classifications

Request a demo of Bloomberg Law today and see how we deliver everything you need to stay one step ahead of employment law developments.


David L. Johnson is a partner at Butler Snow LLP, Nashville TN.


Main Volume Information

2017/1,798 pp./Hardcover/ISBN 978-1-68267-226-6 /Order/#P3430


2018/566 pp./Hardcover/ISBN 978-1-68267-430-7 /Order/#3430

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