Employment At-Will: Maine
Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.
- Maine courts adhere to the employment at-will doctrine, meaning employees who seek to demonstrate the existence of employment contracts, express or implied, will bear the burden of proof. See Employment At-Will Doctrine, Generally.
- Written workplace rules, including those contained in employee handbooks or policy manuals may create binding contracts on employers in certain circumstances. See Employment Contracts.
- Similarly, verbal promises regarding employment tenure or grounds for termination may become enforceable against employers if the promises are sufficiently specific. See Employment Contracts.
- Maine courts have allowed for the possibility of an extremely narrow and difficult to prove public policy exception to the employment at-will doctrine, but require an employee to overcome a heavy burden of proof to succeed on a claim for wrongful termination in violation of public policy. See Public Policy Exceptions.
- Maine courts do not recognize the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing as it may apply to at-will employment relationships, though the covenant may apply to certain employment contracts. See Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing.
- Maine recognizes other employment-related claims against employers including intentional infliction of emotional distress and fraudulent misrepresentation, otherwise known as promissory estoppel. See Exceptions in Tort.