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Employment At-Will: South Carolina

Employment At-Will requirements for other states

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

Author: Meryl Gutterman, Nukk-Freeman & Cerra, PC


  • South Carolina courts recognize the employment-at-will doctrine, with certain exceptions. See Employment At-Will Doctrine, Generally.
  • Verbal assurances of job security and written materials found in an employee handbook relating to the terms of employment or termination may alter the at-will nature of employment in South Carolina, depending on the specifics of the written or verbal statements. See Employment Contracts.
  • South Carolina employers can limit their exposure to claims for wrongful termination by including prominent and clear disclaimers in their employee handbooks and dissemination to employees. See Employment Contracts.
  • Certain terminations may be considered unlawful when they violate clear mandates of public policy and when the employer cannot articulate a stronger basis to justify termination of the employee. See Public Policy Exceptions.
  • South Carolina courts do not recognize the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing in the context of at-will employment. See Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing.
  • While South Carolina recognizes claims of intentional infliction of emotional distress by employees or former employees, courts look at such claims with heightened scrutiny. South Carolina also recognizes claims for defamation by employees against employers.See Exceptions in Tort.