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Employment At-Will: California

Employment At-Will requirements for other states

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

Author: Alice Wang, Fisher Phillips

Summary

  • Employment relationships in California are presumed to be at-will, meaning the employment relationship can be terminated by either party, at any time, with or without cause. See The At-Will Relationship.
  • California recognizes limited exceptions to the at-will presumption, including written and verbal contracts and public policy exceptions. See Employment At-Will Exceptions.
  • At-will employees in California challenging a discharge may file claims against their employers under tort theories, including intentional infliction of emotional distress and defamation, so long as the plaintiff employee is able to satisfy an evidentiary burden. See Tort Considerations.