Employment At-Will: District of Columbia
Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.
Authors: Stuart R. Buttrick, Susan W. Kline and Sarah E. Caldwell Breslin, Faegre Baker Daniels LLP
- Employment relationships in the District of Columbia are strongly presumed to be at-will, meaning that employees who seek to demonstrate a more substantial relationship bear a heavy burden of proof. See Employment At-Will Doctrine, Generally.
- Both verbal exchanges and the written provisions of employee handbooks or policy manuals can alter the at-will status of employees, depending on whether the words or writings satisfy an evidentiary threshold. See Employment Contracts.
- The District of Columbia recognizes exceptions to the employment at-will doctrine based on public policy considerations, but only if the public policy derives from required sources. See Public Policy Exceptions.
- The District of Columbia recognizes that the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing applies to some employment relationships, but does not extend the covenant's protections to at-will employees. See Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing.
- Claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress against employers are possible in the District of Columbia, though claimants must overcome a steep evidentiary burden to be successful. See Exceptions in Tort.