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Employment At-Will: Utah

Employment At-Will requirements for other states

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

Author: Benjamin Harmon, Callister, Nebeker & McCullough

Updating Author: Michael C. Jacobson, XpertHR Legal Editor

Summary

  • Utah courts presume that all employment relationships are at-will, meaning that employees will bear the burden of demonstrating an express or implied employment contract. See Employment At-Will Doctrine, Generally.
  • Some employees may have a property interest in their jobs, however, meaning that employers of qualified employees may be required to provide due process before terminating employees. See Employment At-Will Doctrine, Generally.
  • Written provisions in employee handbooks or manuals may be considered express contracts, while some other provisions may qualify for implied contracts, both of which would be enforceable against the employer. See Employment Contracts.
  • Similarly, verbal promises regarding employment tenure or grounds for termination may be enforceable against the employer, provided that the employee can demonstrate the requisite evidence of a contract. See Employment Contracts.
  • Utah courts recognize public policy exceptions to the employment at-will doctrine where the employee can point to clear, substantial public policies that are relevant to a public interest. See Public Policy Exceptions.
  • Utah courts recognize the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing where the employee has successfully demonstrated the existence of an express or implied-in-fact employment contract. The covenant obligates the employer to act in a certain way toward contractual employees. See Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing.
  • Utah courts recognize other employment-related claims including defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. See Exceptions in Tort.