As with many states across the country, Michigan is known as an at-will employment state. Before you take employment with any company in Michigan, it is important to understand exactly what this means. According to the state of Michigan, at-will employment means that the employer may terminate the employee for any reason or no reason at all. 

There are some exceptions to this, but they are relatively uncommon. Essentially, if you believe that your employer fired you for being part of a protected group (namely, religion, national origin, gender, color, race, disability, age, sexual harassment, or pregnancy) you may be able to challenge for wrongful termination. Another cause that may lead to a wrongful termination suit involved being discharged for perceived union activity. You also may not be terminated if you have been summoned for jury duty and must miss work as a result.

In the event that you are a member of a union, there may be a clause in your contract stating that you may only be fired for “just cause.” If this is the case, typically the union will challenge based on the provisions that are outlined in the collective bargaining agreement. There also may be other sorts of employment contracts that prohibit the employer terminating the employee with no basis. It is important that you understand the nature of all the paperwork you are signing before agreeing to work with a company.

The other side of the at-will employment relationship is that the employee may also leave employment with the employer for any reason. Thus, if you are trying to leave your place of work and your employer is attempting to prohibit you from doing so, this is likely an illegal action.