how do i know if i am "at-will" or a contract employee? 


Determining your employment status is a critical aspect of understanding your rights and responsibilities in the workplace. In the United States, most employees fall into one of two categories: at-will employees or contract employees. This subpage aims to clarify the distinction between the two and help you identify your employment status.

At-Will Employment:

Definition: At-will employment means that either you or your employer can terminate the employment relationship at any time, for any reason (with some exceptions), and without prior notice.

Characteristics: At-will employment is typically the default employment relationship in the absence of an employment contract. You may have been hired as an at-will employee unless stated otherwise.

Contract Employment:

Definition: Contract employment involves a legally binding employment contract that outlines specific terms and conditions of employment, including the duration of employment, job responsibilities, compensation, and reasons for termination.

Characteristics: Contract employees work under the terms specified in their employment contracts. These contracts provide job security for the specified duration, and termination usually requires cause or agreement by both parties.

Determining Your Employment Status:

Review Your Employment Documents: Start by reviewing your employment offer letter, contract, or any written agreements provided by your employer. These documents often specify your employment status.

Consult Your HR Department: If you're unsure about your employment status, your HR department can provide clarification. They can also explain the terms of your employment if you are under a contract.

Evaluate Your Work Situation: Consider the nature of your employment. At-will employees typically have more flexibility in their work, while contract employees may have more structured roles and responsibilities.

Seek Legal Advice: If you still have questions about your employment status or believe that your rights are not being upheld, consult with an employment law attorney who can review your situation and provide guidance.

Why It Matters:

Understanding your employment status is crucial because it impacts various aspects of your work life, including job security, notice periods for termination, benefits, and legal rights in case of wrongful termination.

Consult with an Employment Law Attorney:

If you have concerns about your employment status or believe that your rights as an employee are being violated, our experienced employment law attorneys at Vargas Guerra, LLP can provide you with personalized guidance and legal support.


Whether you are an at-will employee or a contract employee, knowing your employment status is essential for safeguarding your rights and navigating your career. This subpage has provided an overview to help you identify your status, but for personalized advice, don't hesitate to reach out to our dedicated employment law team.