The Consultant's Desk

The Consultant's Desk
Poring over the details on your behalf

Monday, January 07, 2013

At-Will Employment: An Employee's Perspective

During the winter break I prepared some work samples to share with readers and prospective employers.

While putting the final touches on the staffing manual that is included in the work samples, I recalled struggling with the application form because of the legal verbiage that is seen on the last page of many application forms. This verbiage asks the applicant to confirm that the information the applicant provided is true to the best of her/his knowledge, that the applicant understands that a job offer may be contingent upon factors such as drug test and criminal background check results, and the disclaimers that discuss the terms of employment.

I became so frustrated that I asked my mentor, Yvonne, if the ability to create this legal verbiage from scratch was relevant. She pointed out to me that HR students needed to understand what the legal verbiage meant because we would need to explain it to applicants and because we needed to understand the laws that the legal verbiage referred to. That was when it hit me. While many applicants and employees can recite the "at-will disclaimer" verbatim, they may not truly understand what it means or understand its implications. I know I didn't until I encountered a situation in my personal life that made me realize the benefits and consequences of at-will employment.

In the next post we will continue this discussion by defining what at-will employment means in plain English. Until then, thank you for reading.

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