Delaware Wrongful Death Attorney
Generally, Delaware is an at-will employment state where employees can be terminated for a good reason, a bad reason, or no reason at all. However, an employee cannot get terminated for an illegal reason. Some exceptions include termination based on protected classes (race, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation) and activities (retaliation). These are discussed at length in other sections of this website.
In addition, there are some other exception to at-will employment. In these following scenarios:
Breach of Good Faith and Fair Dealing: to constitute a breach of the implied covenant of good faith, the conduct of the employer must constitute 'an aspect of fraud, deceit or misrepresentation. An employer acts in bad faith when it induces another to enter into an employment contract through actions, words, or the withholding of information, which is intentionally deceptive in some material way to the contract. Sometimes, a breach of good faith and fair dealing occurs when the termination violates public policy. Employees who seek protection from firing on the basis that their actions were protected by a public policy, must assert a public interest recognized by some legislative, administrative or judicial authority, and the employee must occupy a position with responsibility for that particular interest. An example would be a doctor or lawyer being terminated for refusing to take an action which would violate an ethical duty.
Promissory Estoppel: a legal claim rooted in a court’s inherent power to correct an unjust action. The unjust action in employment cases is usually a promise made by an employer that is not binding, like a contract would be, but is nonetheless one on which an employee can reasonably rely. If the employee relies on it and suffers a job loss as a result, a court may enforce it. Thus, the promissory estoppel exception to employment-at-will agreements occur when:
- the employer makes a promise on which it should reasonably expect the employee to rely;
- the employee in fact relies on the promise; and
- injustice can be avoided only by enforcement of the promise. The gravamen of the claim is whether the employer should have reasonably expected the employee to rely on its promise and, if so, whether the employee acted on the promise, to his or her detriment.
Breach of Contract: There are also times when employee and employers are bound by a traditional contract. A contract of employment is a legally binding agreement between you and your employer. A breach of that contract happens when either you or your employer breaks one of the terms, for example your employer doesn't pay your wages, or you don't work the agreed hours. Usually the contract is for a specific length of time and outlines how pay and bonuses are earned.