Job seekers whose skills are in high demand will have an advantage when negotiating terms of employment. Executive-level jobs also generally include negotiations over the terms between the hiring manager and the candidate.
Most employers require professional, administrative, and executive employees to sign a written employment agreement or contract that details the terms of employment. Hourly employees typically don't have to sign a contract, and their terms of employment often are outlined in an employee handbook or company policy manual.
At-will employment allows an employee to be fired even if no terms of employment have been violated. In practice, employees who have contracts generally have a degree of job security for the length of the contract as long as they do not violate the contract conditions. Some states have an exception to the at-will policy that gives some protection to an employee who is fired without good cause.
Other than at-will conditions of employment, an employer could fire an employee for a specific cause. A termination-for-cause clause may require the employer to put the employee on an improvement schedule, of 60 or 90 days, during which the employee is expected to improve their work ethics. If the employee does not improve after the probationary period, they could be terminated for cause and dismissed with prejudice.
In some cases, an employer may dismiss an employee without prejudice. This indicates that the employee was let go for reasons other than incompetence, insubordination, or misconduct in the workplace. In such situations, the employee may be rehired for a similar job in the future.