How is US employment law different from UK Employment Law?

The biggest difference between US employment law and UK employment law is that the US has something called ‘at will’ employment. The UK does not. This means that, in the USA, employers can terminate an employment relationship without notice, for any reason, so long as doing so is not a violation of a protected class.

In the USA, there is something called ‘at will’ employment. This means that an employer is free to terminate a US worker’s employment relationship without notice, for any reason, so long as doing so is not a violation of a protected class. For instance, on the grounds of pregnancy, race, religion, sex, age etc. Employees can also terminate employment relationships just as easily, too.

However, the ‘at will’ doctrine does not exist in the UK. Instead, UK employment law is much more formal, whereby employment is structured through formal, written contracts. These contracts will detail the conditions under which a UK employee’s contract can be terminated, and employers are not permitted to terminate an employee’s contract for any reason or without notice. In the UK, there is often a requirement for notice prior to termination, and an employer will often need to show cause. This is not the case in the USA.

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