Employers like to remind employees at every opportunity that they are employed “At Will” (i.e., that employers have the right to hire or fire employees for any reason or no reason at all).
In essence, the employee-employer relationship is like dating. Either party is free to terminate the relationship without so much as an explanation or even a telephone call to say good-bye.
There are limitations on the At Will doctrine. First, the At Will doctrine cuts both ways. If you are unhappy or get a better job offer you too are free to leave. You may also accept a job offer and if a better offer comes along either before, or even after, you start your new job you are free to take it. Second, At Will is limited by laws such as those against discrimination as well as any contractual agreements an employer enters into with its employees. Third, At Will is relevant only to the relationship. It does not allow the employer to avoid payment that was earned or may be due by agreement.