Posts – At-Will Employment// // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // //

The traditional doctrine of at-will employment permits an employer to terminate an employee “for good cause, for no cause, or even for cause morally wrong without being thereby guilty of legal wrong.” To avoid the harsh impact of the well-established doctrine of at-will employment, state, federal courts and legislatures have created or enacted many laws to restrict this otherwise unfettered right.

Despite the growing acceptance of several judicial exceptions to the at-will doctrine, the presumption of at-will employment remains the starting point for analyzing nearly all wrongful termination claims. The Hawaii Supreme Court has recognized certain exceptions to the employment-at-will doctrine—public policy. implied contract, and promissory estoppel.

Congress and the Hawai `i legislature have enacted a variety of statutes which limit an employer’s right to change conditions of employment or terminate the employment relationship. A few examples of laws imposing restrictions on termination include: Title VII, Fair Labor Standards Act. National Labor Relations Act, Rehabilitation Act, Occupational Safety and Health Act, Age Discrimination Employment Act, Veterans Reemployment Act, Americans With Disabilities Act, Workers’ Compensation Act, and the Hawai `i Employment Practices Act.

The statutory schemes cited have created enough exceptions to the at-will to make the issue of employee rights in the workplace a very complicated area.

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