How can an employee handbook be written to preserve the employment at-will status of employees?

Author: Melanie J. Perez-Vellios, VP Group, LLC

Strong, clear and prominent disclaimers contained in both new hire paperwork and the employee handbook/manual are the best way to ensure that the employer maintains the benefit of the at-will employment status. Such disclaimers should contain language notifying present and prospective employees of the at-will employment relationship, including that the employer makes no promises or guarantees of employment and that the employment relationship can be terminated by either party for any reason, or for no reason at any time. To avoid situations where an employee's verbal promise may be interpreted as an employee contract for extended employment, the disclaimer should also advise employees that no representative of the employer is authorized to alter the at-will employment relationship, or make any promises of extended employment, or enter into an employment contract with any employee without the express written consent of the designated representative of the employer.