Q: Tennessee is an “at will” employment state. What does that mean?
A: In the absence of a written employment agreement, an “at will” employee is employed at the discretion of the employer for as little or as long as the employer wishes, and in whatever lawful capacity the employer requires. Furthermore, the employee may choose to work at the employee’s own will for the length of time he or she desires. The employer can even change the terms of employment (i.e. pay scale) at any time. An employer need not provide any reason for terminating an “at will” employee or altering the terms of his/her employment, so long as the decision is not unlawful or discriminatory (based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin physical or mental disability, or age).