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Employment At-Will: New Mexico

Employment At-Will requirements for other states

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

Authors: Kim A. Griffith, Quentin Smith and Barbara G. Stephenson, Sheehan & Sheehan, PA


  • New Mexico courts presume that employment relationships are at-will, meaning that either the employee or the employer can terminate the employment relationship at any time, for any lawful reason. See Employment At-Will Doctrine, Generally.
  • The at-will employment doctrine does not apply to certain public employees in New Mexico who by statute may only be dismissed for just cause, or to union employees under collective bargaining agreements that require just cause for termination. See Public Employees.
  • In New Mexico, provisions of employee handbooks or policy manuals, and the totality of the circumstances surrounding the employment relationship, may alter the at-will employment relationship. See Employment Contracts.
  • The at-will employment presumption is a default rule that can be modified by express employment contracts. See Employment Contracts.
  • New Mexico courts recognize public policy exceptions to the employment at-will doctrine where the employee can identify a clear mandate of public policy supporting a claim for wrongful termination. See Public Policy Exceptions.
  • New Mexico 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.
  • New Mexico courts also recognize other employment-related claims against employers including promissory estoppel, defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. See Exceptions in Tort.