Employment At-Will: South Dakota
Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.
Author: Gloria Ju
- South Dakota is an employment at-will state by statute, meaning that employees will bear the burden of proof to establish employment contracts. See Employment At-Will Doctrine, Generally.
- Written statements in employee handbooks and policy manuals may alter the at-will status of employees, provided the written provision includes certain details. See Employment Contracts.
- While disclaimers may preserve at-will relationships with employees, employers should examine other written provisions to ensure they do not conflict with the terms of the at-will disclaimer. See Employment Contracts.
- Verbal promises regarding employment tenure or grounds for termination may also be enforceable against employers. See Employment Contracts.
- South Dakota recognizes public policy exceptions to the employment at-will doctrine, but requires the public policy consideration derives from specific sources of law or policy. See Public Policy Exceptions.
- South Dakota does not recognize the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing in the employment at-will context. See Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing.
- South Dakota courts recognize other employment-related claims, including intentional infliction of emotional distress, promissory estoppel, defamation and retaliatory discharge. See Exceptions in Tort.