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Employment At-Will: Missouri

Employment At-Will requirements for other states

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

Author: Michael C. Jacobson, XpertHR Legal Editor

Summary

  • Missouri courts adhere to the employment at-will doctrine, meaning that all employment relationships are presumed to be at-will unless employees claiming the existence of a contract can demonstrate otherwise. See Employment At-Will Doctrine, Generally.
  • Missouri courts take a strict approach to the development of implied contracts through the use of verbal promises, employer behaviors and written provisions in employee handbooks. See Employment Contracts.
  • There are several public policy exceptions to the employment at-will doctrine in Missouri, but the courts will look for specific examples of employer wrongdoing in order to uphold claims for violation of public policy. See Public Policy Exceptions.
  • Missouri courts have held that there is an implied duty in every contract not to prevent or hinder performance by the other party. Thus, the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing could apply to employment contracts with a sufficient show of proof. See Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing.
  • Missouri recognizes some other employment-related claims including intentional infliction of emotional distress and defamation.