Dale M. Maas, Attorney at Law
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What are the exceptions to at-will employment?

A scenario in which your employer simply walks up and fires you from your employment in Baton Rouge for no good reason is likely inconceivable to you. After all, you have to have done something to warrant being fired, right? Not necessarily. Like many states, Louisiana subscribes to the philosophy of "at-will" employment. Indeed, Title IX, Article 2747 of Louisiana's Civil Code states than an employer can dismiss you without giving any reason for doing so. 

While this might at first seem shocking to you, you should also know that at-will employment gives you the right to leave your job whenever you wish and without having to provide a reason. Plus, there may be certain exceptions to the assumption of at-will employment that could keep your employer from summarily dismissing you. 

The first is if you have a written contract of employment. Such a document should detail the conditions that would warrant your dismissal. Only if those conditions are not met is your employer justified in firing you. Implied employment contracts also provide protection from unjustified discharge. Say that your employer states in meetings or posts in policy updates that if you maintain a certain standard, you will not be fired. You could then reasonably argue that the implication created by those promises constitutes an implied contract. 

The third exception to at-will employment is dismissals that violate public policy. You cannot be fired in retaliation for not performing a task that is against the law, nor can you be for reporting your employer for violating the law or a regulatory standard. Similarly, you cannot be fired due to discrimination or another factor prohibited by law. 

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Dale M. Maas, Attorney at Law
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Baton Rouge, LA 70816

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