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Employment At-Will: North Dakota

Employment At-Will requirements for other states

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

Authors: Lynn Block and Joel Fremstad, Fremstad Law


  • North Dakota has codified the employment at-will doctrine. Thus, employees seeking to demonstrate something more than an at-will relationship must satisfy an evidentiary burden to overcome the presumption of at-will employment. See Employment At-Will Doctrine, Generally.
  • Verbal promises pertaining to employment tenure or grounds for termination will generally not alter the at-will relationship in North Dakota. See Employment Contracts.
  • Written provisions of an employee handbook or policy manual may alter the at-will employment relationship where the employer has not included a conspicuous disclaimer and or distributed the disclaimer to its employees. See Employee Handbooks.
  • North Dakota recognizes several public policy exceptions to the employment at-will doctrine. See Public Policy Exceptions.
  • North Dakota courts have not recognized the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing insofar as its application to employment relationships. See Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing.
  • North Dakota courts recognize other tort claims in the employment context, including intentional infliction of emotional distress and defamation. See Exceptions in Tort.