How employment laws rule the workplace

Q. What is at-will employment? What is a right to work state?

A. At-will employment means that a person can be fired for almost any reason or for no reason at all. They can also have the terms of their employment, such as salary and benefits, altered. Conversely, it also means that a person can leave a job for any reason. One caveat is that it is illegal to terminate or discriminate against a person for a reason prohibited by law, such as for race or gender.

At-will is the presumed or default employment relationship in the United States. However, this presumption can be altered by contract, which is seen with many higher-level employees. Also, a broader contract, called a collective bargaining agreement, can be negotiated by unions to cover a group of employees.