Employment at Will: A State-by-State Survey, with 2016 Cumulative Supplement

This treatise provides a comprehensive analysis of the employment-at-will doctrine in every state. The desk reference uses the same set of topics for each state, facilitating both comparative and single-state research.

Melinda J. Caterine
Editor-in-Chief, Main Volume
David L. Johnson
Editor-in-Chief, 2016 Cumulative Supplement


Employment at Will: A State-by-State Survey provides a comprehensive analysis of the employment at will doctrine, as well as the exceptions that various states have applied. Using a uniform topic structure that provides a comparative view across states, this treatise is extremely helpful for lawyers with a multi-jurisdictional practice, as well as for those seeking persuasive authority from other states.  

The treatise analyzes, for every state:

  • The creation of enforceable employment agreements through employee handbooks, written personnel policies, and oral assurances
  • Common law claims for wrongful discharge and state statutes prohibiting termination
  • The covenant of good faith and fair dealing in express and implied employment contracts
  • The effect of disclaimers on the employment at will relationship
  • The public policy exception to the doctrine of employment at will
  • The burden of proof necessary to sustain a claim of wrongful discharge
  • What constitutes “just cause” for purposes of termination
  • The effect of disclaimers on the employment at will relationship
  • Potential damages in a wrongful discharge claim
  • Related tort claims arising out of the employment relationship
  • State statues that prohibit termination based on certain protected classifications

Supplement Information  

This important resource is updated annually; representative highlights covered in the 2016 Cumulative Supplement include:


  • California: expansion of Labor Code provisions providing statutory protection against termination

  • Florida: review of case law on at-will employees and tortious interference

  • Illinois: clarification of application of the Illinois Whistleblower Act

  • New York: sufficiency of indicia of contract in "employee handbook” to overcome the at-will presumption

  • Texas: examination of "good cause" termination where employee shows contract for a definite term


Bloomberg BNA authors and editors are practicing professionals with insider perspectives and real-life experience. Learn more about this book’s authors and editors.
Melinda J. Caterine is a shareholder in the Portland, ME office of Littler Mendelson P.C.

David L. Johnson is a partner at Butler Snow LLP, Nashville, TN.


View full tables of contents and read the book’s preface or introduction.