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Employment At-Will: Arkansas

Employment At-Will requirements for other states

Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.

Authors: E. B. Chiles IV, Cameron C. McCree and Amber Davis-Tanner, Quattlebaum, Grooms, Tull and Burrow PLLC

Summary

  • Arkansas adheres to the employment at-will doctrine based on decisions of the state courts, meaning that employees who wish to establish the existence of employment contracts, express or implied, bear the burden of proof. See Employment At-Will Doctrine, Generally.
  • Written provisions of employee handbooks or policy manuals can alter the at-will nature of employment and, if they meet certain conditions, can be used as evidence to establish the existence of an employment contract. See Employee Handbooks.
  • Arkansas courts recognize public policy exceptions to the employment at-will doctrine, but require that the exceptions stem from provisions found in the Arkansas Constitution or state legislation. See Public Policy Exceptions.
  • Arkansas does not recognize civil claims for wrongful termination allegedly in retaliation for making or filing claims for workers' compensation. See Public Policy Exceptions.
  • Arkansas courts do not recognize the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing as it may pertain to at-will employment relationships. See The Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing.
  • Arkansas courts recognize other torts related to the employment relationship including outrage, which is Arkansas' version of intentional infliction of emotional distress. See Exceptions in Tort.