Can employers use "at will" employment status to discriminate against employees with disabilities?

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"At will" employment, also referred to as “employment at will” or "hired at will", is when the employer and the employee agree that either party can terminate the employment agreement without justification and often without advanced notice. "At will" positions typically offer the employee less job security than other types of positions. However, "at will" employees who have disabilities are afforded legal protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits employers from discriminating against employees with disabilities. Thus, employers may not use "at will" employment status as an excuse to discriminate.

For more information about legal protections for workers, visit the DO-IT Knowledge Base article What federal laws in the U.S. protect the rights of people with disabilities?

Last update or review: August 12, 2010