The following sample policies were excerpted from The Book of Company Policies, published by HR Specialist, © 2007. Edit for your organization's purposes.
Note: Legislation has been gradually eroding employers’ right to terminate employees at-will. To protect your organization's at-will rights to the extent possible in your particular locality, you will want to spell this out for all new and prospective employees in the front of your employee manual (or in a posted policy) as well as on your job application forms. Here’s how two examples of employment-at-will policies:
Sample Policy 1:
“Your employment with XYZ is at-will. Although we hope that your employment here will be mutually rewarding, both you and XYZ retain the right to end the employment relationship at any time and for any reason.”
Sample Policy 2:
“XYZ, like other employers, hires and employs under terms known as employment at-will. Employment at-will means that XYZ may alter the terms of your employment, and either you or XYZ may terminate your employment at any time and for any reason or for no reason, with or without notice. No officer or other employee has authority to alter the employment-at-will relationship, orally or in writing. This guide does not create an employment contract, establish rights, privileges or benefits of employment or establish any job guarantee.”
To protect your organization's at-will status, Here some steps you can take:
- Give managers a handbook of their own for discussing issues like job security. But even in it, you should include an at-will policy disclaimer. Do not give employees a copy of your managers’ handbook.
- Do not attempt to spell everything out in the employee manual. Be sufficiently vague so that you create no contract—or at least give yourself an out.
- If you discuss disciplinary steps, state specifically that you reserve the right to bypass all in some cases.
- In your employment manual specify that if the employee has not signed a contract, then he is employed at-will.
- How to Fire an Employee the Legal Way: 6 Termination Guidelines
- 10 Secrets to an Effective Performance Review
- Protect your company's secrets ... and take the credit
- When good performer is suddenly disciplined, consider that a red flag for retaliation
- Choose one when suing: bias or wrongful termination
- When manager recommends firing subordinate, investigate to make sure bias isn't a factor