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Employment At-Will: Delaware

Employment At-Will requirements for other states

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

Author: Jessica Sussman


Delaware employment relationships are presumed to be at-will, deriving from judicial decisions from the state courts. See Employment At-Will Doctrine, Generally.

Though Delaware courts recognize that written provisions of employee handbooks or policy manuals may alter the at-will status of employees, the state courts adhere to a strong presumption of at-will employment. See Employment Contracts.

Verbal promises of employment tenure or grounds for termination may only be enforceable if the promise would not violate Delaware's Statute of Frauds. See Employment Contracts.

Delaware courts also recognize public policy exceptions to the employment at-will doctrine, but require that the public policy in question derive from specific sources. See Public Policy Exceptions.

Delaware courts recognize that the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing applies to both at-will employment relationships and contractual relationships, but require specific circumstances for the covenant to apply. See Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing.

Delaware courts recognize other employment-related claims like intentional infliction of emotional distress and promissory estoppel. See Exceptions in Tort.