What conditions of work are legal?

I got an offer letter from a company a month ago and I accepted it. In the letter it says that I am free to leave with or without reason and with or without notice. Similarly, the company is allowed to end the employment relationship at any time with or without reason and with or without notice. Why would they say this and is it legal? They’re based out of MO but our office is in NY. Could this effect severance pay or other benefits if the company went under and did not want to have to pay?

Asked on July 22, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Most employment is "at will". This means that a company can set the conditions of work much as it sees fit (absent some form of legally actionablr discrimination). According either a worker or their employer can end the work relationship for any reason or no reason at all, with or without notice. As for why this was put in your offer letter, it was probably to clarify things as many workers (such as yourself) many not be familar with general terms of employment.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

It is more than legal--it is the law *unless* there is a written employment (or union) contract to the contrary. In the absence of such a contract, all employment in this nation is "employment at will": either side (employer or employee) may terminate employment for any reason (or no reason) and without notice.
As for why they'd say this, given that it is the law anyway: not everyone (such as yourself) understands that employment at will is the law; they may be putting it in writing to avoid disputes or confusion later.


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