At-will employment is one of the most important topics to understand when entering the workforce in Los Angeles. Found in most employment contracts in the United States, at-will employment is a critical piece of knowledge for the average employee. Although many of the particulars of at-will employment depend on the specific individual’s and organization’s circumstances, lifetime employment cannot be assumed under any circumstances.

What Is At-Will Employment?

At-will employment is a legal arrangement designed to treat employees as independent contractors. The laws surrounding at-will employment apply to the timeline of the job itself, which is not written in stone. An employee who works at will can leave a job anytime they wish, and their employers can also end the employment with no legal consequence. The key factor here is that notice or a reason for dismissal is not required. As this is the most common form of employee-employer relationship in the United States, it is important for everyone to understand how it works.

The laws surrounding at-will employment originate from common law, which date back to the 18th century. The specifics of the law can differ from state to state; however, in the state of California, and more specifically in Los Angeles, there are additional laws related to the termination of employment contracts that must be observed.

At-Will Employment and the Implied Employment Contract

In addition to the at-will employment laws, an implied contract of employment also exists. Under this contract, employees are assumed to have certain minimum rights. Employees who are taken on under an implied contract have the right to reassignment to another job or, in some cases, even termination of the contract itself. This contract also dictates that employers must treat workers with fairness and respect.

For employees in Los Angeles, there are additional laws and exemptions which govern the at-will employment relationship. Of those are restrictions on employers for terminating an employee without notice or due process. This aspect of employment law applies to probationary and permanent employees alike.

Exemptions of At-Will Employment

In Los Angeles, at-will employment is not only the law, but it is also exempted under certain aspects of the law. For example, employers cannot legally dismiss an employee on the basis of their heritage, religion, or political beliefs. They can also not fire an employee for whistleblowing, or bringing matters to the attention of the government or media, or for being related to a rival organization in a professional capacity. Additionally, employers cannot dismiss an employee due to a violation of their contractual entitlements or without providing opportunities for having their side of the story heard.

Observing At-Will Employment in Los Angeles

It is important to remember that the laws surrounding at-will employment in Los Angeles differ from the rest of the United States. Los Angeles is a unique location that is subject to different state laws as well as federal laws.

Los Angeles employers must be aware of the additional constraints that exist under the Los Angeles employment laws. As employers should always observe reasonable notice during a dismissal, they should also be aware of the potential legal ramifications of their actions.

Employees should also review their employment contracts to ensure that they are operating within the parameters of the law. By observing the at-will employment laws in Los Angeles, those who are entering the workforce can confidently be awarded legal protection and respect during their employment relationships.

At-will employment in Los Angeles should be monitored closely by employers and employees alike. With the appropriate attention and understanding of the laws, these relationships can be productive and positive for all parties involved.


At-Will Employment,

Los Angeles,

Employment Contracts