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DLLR's Division of Labor and Industry

 

Employment At-Will:  Termination of Employment - Employer Discretion in the Workplace: Employment-At-Will - The Maryland Guide to Wage Payment and Employment Standards

 

(Not under the enforcement powers of the Employment Standards Service)

In Maryland, employees work "at the will" of their employers. This means, in the absence of an express contract, agreement or policy to the contrary, an employee may be hired or fired for almost any reason -- whether fair or not -- or for no reason at all.

There are certain exceptions to this general rule which provide some protection to employees from illegal discrimination based on such categories as race, color, gender, national origin, religion, age, disability or marital status. Examples of other employment at-will exceptions include laws which protect employees from termination or retaliation for filing workers' compensation claims, for attempting to enforce rights to receive overtime or the minimum wage, for asserting rights to work in a safe and healthy workplace, for refusing to commit criminal acts, for reporting for jury duty or military service, or for being subject to a wage attachment for any one indebtedness. Terminating an employee for any of these specific reasons may constitute a violation under the applicable State or federal law.