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At-Will Employment in North Carolina

Lusby & Brooks, P.A. April 26, 2022

North Carolina labor law presumes that employees are hired at will. Essentially, either the employee or the employer may terminate employment at any time, regardless of prior notice or cause. However, it is a breach of employment contract and violation of federal anti-discrimination laws to wrongfully terminate employment or fire an employee for illegal reasons. A knowledgeable North Carolina employment law attorney can enlighten you about your rights under at-will employment and help file your wrongful termination claims.

At Lusby & Brooks, P.A., our attorneys are poised and ready to guide, support, and represent employees in their wrongful termination cases. As your legal counsel, we will investigate every last detail of your unique situation, help you understand your rights under at-will employment, and explore your possible options to recover damages. Our trusted team will fight compassionately to represent your best interests, take necessary legal action against your employer, or get your employment reinstated.

Lusby & Brooks, P.A. is proud to represent clients in all cities throughout North Carolina, including Wilson, Wilmington, Raleigh, Fayetteville, Charlotte, Jacksonville, and Greensboro.

At-Will Employment in North Carolina

At-will employment can be described as an employment contract that states that employment may be terminated either by the employer or the employee at any time, with or without any prior notice, except for illegal reasons. North Carolina is an employment-at-will state. This means that the employer and the employee may decide to end the employment relationship at any time, for any reason, but without breaking the law.

Exceptions to At-Will Employment

There are limited exceptions to the at-will employment rule in North Carolina that can allow employees who lose their jobs to sue their former employer under the state's wrongful termination laws. The exceptions to at-will employment in North Carolina include:

  • Implied Contract: An implied contract for continued employment is an agreement – that isn't in writing but legally binding – that the job will last for a specified period or that the employer will not fire the employee without a good cause.

  • Implied Covenant: An implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing can be used to support your wrongful termination claims if you can show that your employer terminated your employment in bad faith to deny or deprive you of your employment benefits.

  • Public Policy: The public policy exception allows an employee to take legal action for wrongful termination against their employer if the employment was terminated for performing a legal obligation, refusing to violate a law, exercising their legal rights, or reporting illegal activity to law enforcement.

An experienced attorney can evaluate the surrounding facts of your unique situation, determine whether you have a wrongful termination case against your employer, and help file your claims.

Unlawful Termination in an
At-Will Employment State

Under both federal and state laws, it is illegal to terminate employment based on the employee's sex, race, age, religion, disability, or national origin, or in retaliation for filing certain complaints or claims against the employer, or for engaging in protected activities.

For this reason, employers are required to follow state and federal laws addressing things such as discrimination, harassment, wages and hours, unfair treatment, and the National Labor Relations Act when terminating an employee to avoid liability.

An employee who has been fired for unlawful reasons may be eligible to sue their employer for wrongful termination and pursue available damages. A skilled attorney can enlighten you about your possible legal options and determine the best way to proceed with your wrongful termination claims.

Get Experienced Legal
Guidance You Can Trust

In North Carolina, firing a worker is allowed for the most part. However, terminating an employee for discriminatory or illegal reasons is prohibited. If you believe that your employment was unlawfully terminated by your employer, you are within your rights to pursue fair compensation by filing wrongful termination claims. A knowledgeable employment law attorney can advocate for your legal rights and help navigate crucial decisions in your wrongful termination case.

For over a decade, our attorneys have devoted their careers to advocating for the best interests of employees who have been fired unlawfully. As your legal counsel, we will investigate the reason for your employment termination, determine whether your circumstances fall within any of the exceptions, and explore your possible legal options. Using our extensive knowledge, our reliable team will fight diligently to protect your legal rights, help hold your employer responsible, and attempt to seek fair compensation to cover damages or ensure that your job is reinstated.

Contact Lusby & Brooks, P.A. today to schedule a simple case assessment with an experienced employment law attorney. Our trusted team can offer you the reliable representation you need in your wrongful termination case and guide you through the often-complex legal process. We proudly represent clients in all cities throughout North Carolina, including Wilson, Wilmington, Raleigh, Fayetteville, Charlotte, Jacksonville, and Greensboro.