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Michigan employment contracts: what is at-will status?

| May 30, 2015 | Contract Disputes |

Some businesses, in Michigan and across the country, choose to hire employees under at-will conditions. Terms of employment, including stipulations such as this, may be spelled out specifically in employment contracts, or included in employee handbooks. What exactly is an at-will employee, and is hiring under this condition good for business?

Hiring a person as an at-will employee simply means an employer can fire that individual without notice and for any reason under the sun. As long as a business owner states verbally or lists somewhere, either in a specific contract or in a company handbook, that an employee has been hired at this status, the business will be protected from a legal standpoint. That is, of course, as long as rights are not violated and labor laws are not broken.

Is hiring people under this condition good for business? Yes and no. Yes, because employers are essentially protecting themselves and are able to terminate workers any time they deem it necessary. No, because fewer people may be interested in applying for positions if they know this a company’s practice.

Whether a business owner chooses to hire at-will employees or not is a very personal decision. Regardless, all purposes for termination should be spelled out in employment contracts or in company handbooks, so there is no confusion as to why employees may be permanently relieved of their duties. Business owners in Michigan and across the country can seek assistance for the drafting of contracts and other company documents to ensure these items are in compliance with current labor laws but also offer the legal protections desired.

Source: FindLaw, “At-Will Employee FAQ’s“, Accessed on May 26, 2015

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