What does “at-will” employment mean? An at-will employee can be terminated for any reason—so long as it does not violate employment laws. This is a concept often misunderstood by the public. Employees should be aware of the employment agreement they have with their employer. Be aware, read every document, including health benefits and employee handbooks. In California, you are most likely an at-will employee if you work for a private employer (different laws apply to government employees at the local, state, and federal level).


Employees usually don’t have much choice in deciding whether they are at-will. However, at-will employment does not allow for “wrongful termination.” An employer cannot fire an employee for an illegal reason.