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How does the at-will employment rule work?

On Behalf of | Jun 7, 2024 | Employment Law |

In Oregon, federal and state laws, including the at-will employment rule, can take effect when providing rights or protections for employers and employees. This provision allows either side to end a work arrangement whenever they wish, terminating employment without any notice periods.

This setup can have benefits and disadvantages, such as making it too easy to fire employees or leave employers unreasonably. Fortunately, it is possible to mitigate at-will conditions in different ways.

Can this rule make wrongful termination lawful?

The at-will employment rule can be a standard provision covering all employment setups without official documentation. This means that termination might be lawful if there is no other legal basis for ending employment. However, the situation could be different if there is a contract between the employer and the employee.

If this agreement exists, its conditions and terms typically come first when addressing future contract disputes and legal issues. If the document indicates any rules concerning terminating employment, it can bind both parties legally and force them to carry out the termination based on the agreed-upon process.

Determining if the termination is wrongful

It could be easy to claim that the at-will employment rule applies, but the legal implications can vary from case to case. Most of the time, what happens next can significantly depend on any existing agreements involved in the employment arrangement. Additionally, other policies, either implemented by law or through the employer’s internal regulations, can become relevant according to what led to the incident and other circumstances.

To prevent making assumptions and falling victim to misconceptions, seeking legal counsel should be the first step to evaluating a possibly wrongful termination. Learning more about what laws apply can also help determine the most appropriate legal remedies.


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