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Employment At-Will: Maine

Employment At-Will requirements for other states

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

Author: Linda D. McGill, Bernstein Shur; and Michael C. Jacobson, XpertHR Legal Editor


  • 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.