employment-at-will, employment, public policy exception, termination


Recent developments concerning the application of the employment-at-will rule demonstrate that courts are reluctant to recognize exceptions to the rule based on considerations of public policy in the absence of a legislative mandate. Jurisdictions, including New York, have declared that the recognition of a cause of action in tort for abusive discharge should be a function of the state legislature. Further, courts have been unwilling to imply private causes of action to protect the rights of employees under federal and state law. While certain "whistle-blower" and unjust dismissal legislation has had limited success in other jurisdictions, courts could become more willing to recognize implied-in-fact contract rights to job security based on the "totality" of the parties' employment relationship. For this reason, the recognition of public policy exceptions to the at-will rule does not have to be considered an exclusive function of the legislature.



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