Employment At-Will Doctrine: Alaska
Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.
Author: Michael C. Jacobson, XpertHR Legal Editor
- Alaska takes a unique approach to at-will employment, permitting employers to terminate employees for any lawful reason, so long as they reason does not also violate the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. See Employment At-Will Doctrine, Generally.
- Verbal promises of employment tenure or grounds for termination may be enforceable, similar to written provisions contained in offer letters, employee handbooks and policy manuals. See Employment Contracts.
- Alaska courts recognize public policy exceptions to the employment at-will doctrine in limited scenarios, requiring specific offers of proof by employees claiming they were terminated in violation of a public policy consideration. See Public Policy Exceptions.
- The implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing is intertwined with the employment at-will doctrine in Alaska, a unique approach among the 50 states. Standing alone, however, the covenant requires that employers not actively seek to deprive employees of the benefits they are entitled to within the employment agreement, express, implied or at-will. See Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing.
- Alaska courts recognize other employment related claims like intentional infliction of emotional distress and promissory estoppel. See Exceptions in Tort.