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Employment At-Will: District of Columbia

Employment At-Will requirements for other states

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


  • Employment relationships in the District of Columbia 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.
  • The District of Columbia recognizes limited exceptions to the at-will presumption, including written and implied contracts and public policy exceptions. See Employment At-Will Exceptions.
  • At-will employees in the District of Columbia 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.