Hiring and Firing: The Legalities of Employment
For working professionals, getting a job and losing a job have become two of the most complicated parts of life. There are untold numbers of laws that determine the legality of a hiring or firing situation. It is important to understand the type of employment that you are entering into, and how that affects your employment. There are two main types of employment that are used by most employers today: At-will employment and contractual employment.
At-will employment is the most common type of employment that is offered. Most full-time jobs are at-will, meaning that you can be fired at any time, for any reason and that you can leave your job at any time, for any reason. Most jobs request at least two weeks’ notice, but this is a requirement. Despite the ability to fire you at any point, your employer does have to comply with public policy and any legally binding requirements. This means that you cannot be fired for any reason that is protected from discrimination, including race, sexual orientation, religion, or disability. The reason for being let go doesn’t need to be fair, it just needs to not be discriminatory.
The other most common form of employment is contractual employment. While this may require the same number of hours as full-time employment, it is usually for a limited amount of time or for the duration of a project. You also do not receive the same benefits that a full-time employee does and your employment is subject to different terms and conditions. Unlike at-will employment, your employer cannot fire you for any reason. You must specifically violate the terms of your contract. Likewise, you are not free to leave the job until your contract is fulfilled unless you renegotiate your contract or are willing to accept the penalties for violating your contract.
Which Employment Type is Better?
In the long term, at-will employment will allow you to build a career at a company without sacrificing your ability to look for a new job. While there is no assurance that you won’t be let go, most companies are not in the business of firing employees for no reason. On the other hand, contractual employment can be very lucrative in industries such as construction. Contractual employment can also offer more flexibility to workers since they can decide when to take work and when to not. Both types of employment have pros and cons, it is simply up to you to figure out which one works the best for you and your career.