The Meaning of At-Will, Part-Time and Contract Employment

Table of Contents

Public Sector

Last Updated: 09-20-2021

Most California public employees have what is known as a constitutionally protected "property" interest in continued employment giving rise to their rights to pre-discipline and post-discipline "due process." At-will employees, however, are not vested by their public employer with a property interest in continued employment and serve at the "will" or "pleasure" of their employer. At-will employees tend to be high-level managers, department heads, executives, probationary employees, seasonal employees, and part-time/temporary employees.

This workbook explores issues related to at-will employees and serves as a helpful desktop reference for understanding the unique rights and benefits afforded to these employees. Specifically, this workbook discusses designation of at-will status, the rights of at-will employees, management's authority in dealing with at-will employees, and how to avoid litigation relating to the discipline and termination of at-will employees.

This workbook also discusses issues regarding independent contractors or contract workers. Typically, these workers provide skilled services to a public agency pursuant to a contract either between the agency and the worker or between the agency and an outside employment firm. Specifically, this workbook addresses what types of benefits and rights, if any, independent contractors or contract workers are entitled to.

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Disclaimer: This document is provided as a benefit to Liebert Library subscribers and cannot be shared outside of their organization. The information contained within is a template only and is not designed to address the specific and unique issues, internal rules, practices, and/or governing documents that might be in place at your organization. You should always consult with legal counsel prior to implementation of any documents.
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