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Employment At-Will: Michigan

Employment At-Will requirements for other states

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

Authors: Patrick F. Hickey, Dykema, and Alexandra J. Wolfe, formerly of Dykema


  • Michigan recognizes the employment at will doctrine, but with significant exceptions. See Employment at will Doctrine, Generally.
  • In Michigan, a plaintiff may use three different methods to prove that a just cause employment relationship exists. See Employment Contracts.
  • Verbal assurances by the employer may alter the at-will nature of employment in Michigan if they meet a certain evidentiary threshold. See Verbal Contracts.
  • In Michigan, provisions of employee handbooks or policy manuals may alter the at-will employment relationship and may even create liability for employers where handbook statements are inaccurate. See Employee Handbooks.
  • Michigan employers may limit their liability for wrongful discharge by including clear and unambiguous contractual disclaimers in their employment applications, handbooks and/or policy manuals. See Employee Handbooks.
  • Michigan courts do not recognize the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing in the context of at-will employment relationships. See Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing.
  • Michigan courts identify three specific public policy exceptions to the employment at will doctrine. See Public Policy Exceptions.
  • Employers in Michigan may be liable for a variety of employment-related torts. See Exceptions in Tort.