FLORIDA'S "EMPLOYMENT AT WILL" DOCTRINE  

    Florida employment law is based on the general rule that any employee may be discharged by the employer, or may leave the job, for any reason whatsoever, or for no reason.  In other words, an employer in Florida may hire and fire any employee at any time for any reason.  It doesn’t matter if there is no reason, a bad reason, a good reason, or just the result of a whimsical decision.  Likewise, the employee is free to quit a job at any time without any reason and without any notice.  THERE DOES NOT HAVE TO BE ANY REASON FOR FIRING OR FOR QUITTING.  This is referred to in the law as the “Employment at Will” doctrine. 

    The above “employment at will” relationship between an employer and an employee changes if there is an employment contract between the parties.  Then the relationship is governed by the terms of the contract.  

    The “employment at will” relationship may also be altered by a labor union contract if the employer and employee are governed by such a contract.  The employment relationship here is governed by the labor union agreement with the employer.

    Civil Service employees and employees of governmental organizations that have a merit system protection or other forms of merit retention or civil service type protection do not fall under the general rule of the “employment at will” doctrine.  Such employees such look to its civil service rule or similar rules to determine the nature of the employment relationship. 

    A “personnel manual” or “employee handbook” given to employees by a corporate employer does not (at least in Florida) give the employee contractual rights.   It is important to know the rules and regulations of the corporation concerning is employees, but these rules do not automatically give employees certain legal rights that are enforceable in a court of law. 

    Of course, even in an “employment at will” state such as Florida,  an employer covered by specific federal and state laws governing employer / employee relations, cannot discharge or attempt to discharge or take any adverse employment action regarding an employee that violates such law(s).  All of those statutes and laws are too numerous to discuss on this website. 

FOR FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ON EMPLOYMENT LAW GO TO: WWW.FDLES.STATE.FL.US/FAQ/DEFAULT.HTM

A brief listing of some of the laws governing employment are as follows: 

Labor Management Relations Act of 1947
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1973
The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985
The Civil Rights Act of 1866
The Civil Rights Act of 1964
The Civil Rights Act of 1991
Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967
Sections 1981 through 1988 of Title 42 of the United States Code
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
The Fair Labor Standards Act
The Occupational Safety and Health Act
The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993
The Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992
The Florida Equal Pay Act, Section 725.07, Florida Statutes
Equal Pay Act of 1963
The Florida Whistleblower Act, Section 448.102, Florida Statutes
Florida's Workers' Comp. Anti-Retaliation Provision, Sec. 440.205, Florida Statutes
Florida's Wage Rate Provision, Section 448.07, Florida Statutes
The Rehabilitation Act of 1973
The Health Maintenance Organization Act of 1973
The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986
Executive Order 11141
Executive Order 11246
Executive Order 11375

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