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What is "At Will" Employment Law?

Video Transcript:

Hi, I’m Kraig Marton and I do the employment law here in the firm.

What is “at will” employment in Arizona?

At will employment means that an employer can fire an employee any time the employer wants as long as the firing is not for an illegal, improper, bad reason. In turn, the employee can leave anytime they want. It’s a very important principle in the law in Arizona and in most states, because basically, it’s one of the best defenses an employer has when an employee claims they were wrongfully terminated.

What is a perfect employment case?

I look for the best employment case when I’m representing employees that I can find and there’s certain factors that I look for to make the best case. Although it’s not necessary, a long-term employee who has been badly fired, is better than a short-term employee. I look for whether there is a valid legal claim. Sometimes an employee is terminated for a reason that’s unfair, but that does not equate to a valid legal claim. I look for real damages. I want to find a case where the employee has suffered real damages because if an employee is fired on one day and the next day gets a better job, it’s far less likely there are any damages and in the end, what I look for is a gut reaction that what the employer did was wrong.

Are all types of discrimination illegal?

People ask me about discrimination all the time. The discrimination that is illegal is the list of discriminatory actions that are listed in the law and those include things that people have heard of such as race, religion, national origin.

How do you assess an employment case?

The first thing I want to do is hear their story and look at their documents. It’s important in assessing a case to see whether the employee’s story fits. If it’s credible and it’s important to see what documents they have because it could make a major difference. One of the problems I have in representing an employee is that I only hear their side of the story and it’s very important to me to hear what the employer has to say because oftentimes the employee hasn’t been told the whole story. I have to get the whole story when I assess a case.


About the author: Kraig J. Marton is the chair of the employment law department at the Phoenix law firm of Jaburg Wilk.  He also assists employers in complying with the many state and federal employment laws.