Nancy Cremins

‘At-Will Employment’ is Unique To U.S. Except Under This Circumstance

by Nancy Cremins
October 2017

But be careful, there are still limitations when it comes to terminating international workers.

Terminating employees who work in countries outside of the United States can pose challenges. Because “at-will employment” is uniquely a U.S. concept, countries around the world have a very high bar when it comes to employee termination.

Though, there may be one exception. Read on to find out just when an employee working in a country outside the U.S. could be considered an “employee at will.”

The employee probationary period

The probationary period is a period of time during which the employment relationship most closely resembles employment at will. In many countries, probationary periods in employment contracts are permitted and can serve as a useful tool for employers when it comes to terminations.

The rules and standards vary, but generally, probationary periods of 3 to 6 months are not uncommon at the beginning of an employee’s employment.

A word of warning: Many employees attempt to negotiate to eliminate the probationary period out of their employment agreement. Be cautious about agreeing to such a provision. If you agree and the employee doesn’t work out, you could end up paying significantly more money to the employee upon termination.

To learn more about how to avoid a painful international termination, read the rest of Nancy Cremins’ point of view on the topic.

Don’t Fire At Will

From complex local laws to firm employee contracts, employers have to take careful steps in an international termination. Read Nancy Cremins’ full point of view.

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Nancy Cremins

Nancy Cremins

Chief Administrative Officer & General Counsel, Globalization Partners

Nancy Cremins, Chief Administrative Officer and Gerenal Counsel, joined Globalization Partners in April 2016. Nancy is known as one of Boston’s top lawyers for startups and entrepreneurial ventures, having been named as a Top 50 Women in Law, one of Boston’s “40 Under 40,” and “Fifty on Fire.” Prior to joining Globalization Partners, Nancy got extensive experience in the areas of employment law and conflict resolution over the past 10 years at notable firms such as Gesmer Updegrove LLP and Robinson & Cole LLP.