Employment At-Will: An Invalid Interpretation of the Modern Employment Agreement

Stephen A. Miller

DOI: 10.2190/981E-FGH5-51RW-G7T3


Although the doctrine of employment at-will controls the majority of today's employment relationships, it does not reflect the realities of modern employment agreements. Employment at-will developed at a time when employment relationships were both simple and short-term in nature. Today's employment relationships are more complicated and long-term in nature. Exchanges of goods for money, services for money, and labor for money all share the basic elements required to make a contract. The law, however, recognizes the first two transitions as a contract, and the third as an "at-will" agreement. This distinction is both irrational and destructive. Current employment at-will law deprives employers and employees of the rights and protections of contracting parties. By rejecting the employment at-will presumption and recognizing the employment agreement as a contract, the law will be in harmony with the realities of the modern employment relationship and properly protect the rights of employers and employees.

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