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Employment At-Will: Kentucky

Employment At-Will requirements for other states

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

Author: Cynthia Blevins Doll, Fisher Phillips


  • Kentucky courts adhere to the employment at will doctrine. See Employment At-Will Doctrine.
  • Kentucky courts may recognize the existence of an employment contract, but only where the plaintiff employee satisfies an evidentiary burden to demonstrate that the employer intended to create a binding contract. See Employment Contracts.
  • Verbal assurances of job security and written provisions in employee handbooks or policies manuals may alter the at-will nature of employment. See Verbal Promises and Employee Handbooks.
  • Kentucky courts recognize two distinct exceptions to the employment at will doctrine based on public policy considerations. See Public Policy Exceptions.
  • Kentucky does not recognize any claims for violation of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing in the employment context. See Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing.
  • Claims for defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress and promissory estoppel are actionable in Kentucky. See Exceptions in Tort.