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Employment At-Will: Massachusetts

Employment At-Will requirements for other states

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

Author: Rebecca Sipowicz


  • Although most Massachusetts employees remain at-will, meaning they can be terminated for any reason at any time, employees may not be terminated in violation of provisions of an express, implied or oral contract. See Employment At-Will Doctrine.
  • Verbal assurances of job security may convert the at-will employment relationship to an implied contractual relationship where the employer can only terminate the employee for just cause. See Employment At-Will Doctrine.
  • The terms of an employee personnel manual may become part of an implied contract, which removes from the employer's ability to terminate employees at will. See Implied Contracts.
  • Employees cannot be terminated in violation of public policy, meaning that if the employee follows a legal obligation or refuses to take illegal action, an employer cannot use that action or obligation as grounds for termination. See Public Policy Exceptions to the Employment At-Will Doctrine.
  • Massachusetts recognizes an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing in employment relationships, meaning that employers cannot fire employees simply to avoid paying an amount validly earned by the employee. See Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing.