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The concept of at-will employment

Many employees in Michigan and around the country are considered 'at-will" employees. Working as an at-will employee means that the employee could be fired at anytime and for almost any reason. An employer who decides to fire an at-will employee does not have to have a good cause for making the decision, and it is not required to provide the employee with any notice that their job is ending.

A lot of employers will let their workers know that they are at-will employees when they first hire them. Making this statement may protect the employer in the event that it chooses to fire a worker without good cause, and the worker then files a complaint against the employer.

When an employer makes statements that are contrary to an at-will employment arrangement, its employees may no longer be considered at-will employees. For example, an employer might say something like 'Keep up the good work, and you'll always have a job here." Employers who repeat statements of that nature on a regular basis may not be allowed to fire their employees without a good cause. If they do, the employees may be able to reference those statements in court as proof that the employer did not follow the at-will employment laws.

Even if an employer makes it clear that their workers are at-will employees, the employer can still be found guilty of employment violations. If a decision to fire an employee was based on discrimination of a protected class, the firing may have been illegal under both federal and state law. Employers are not allowed to discriminate against workers based on gender, race, sexual orientation, religion and many other factors.

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