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The basic exceptions that some states require are the public policy exception, the implied contract exception, and the covenant of good faith exception.

Which States Have the Public Policy Exemption?

The public policy exception is similar to the federal requirements, but it can be pursued at the state level as well as at the federal level. It's one of the more widely applied exceptions, and these states are the only ones that do not follow it:
• Alabama
• Florida
• Georgia
• Louisiana
• Nebraska
• New York
• Rhode Island

Which States Have the Implied Contract Exemption?

The implied contract exception applies in states where employers have employees sign at-will employment contracts but include in the contract or employee handbook the statement that they will only be terminated for "just cause" or something similar. It is also broadly applied, and the only states that do not recognize it are:
• Delaware
• Florida
• Georgia
• Indiana
• Louisiana
• Massachusetts
• Missouri
• Montana
• North Carolina
• Pennsylvania
• Rhode Island
• Texas
• Virginia

Which States Have the Covenant of Good Faith Exemption?

Covenant of good faith is one of the broadest exceptions. It essentially requires that employers only terminate employees for just cause, even if the Employee Handbooks or Employment Contracts say nothing about that requirement. It is the narrowest exception, but it is the broadest in its application within the states that do recognize it. These are the states that recognize this exception to at-will employment:
• Alabama
• Alaska
• Arizona
• California
• Delaware
• Idaho
• Massachusetts
• Montana
• Nebraska
• Utah
• Wyoming

If you have a question about at-will employment, it’s best to talk to a lawyer near you.

This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.


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