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


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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.