Florida is an "at-will" doctrine. Florida employers often tell employees that Florida is an at-will state so they can fire the employee for any reason, with or without cause. This is not entirely true. So what does it really mean to be an at-will employee in Florida? In Florida, the "at-will" doctrine can be undermined in several ways.  David Miklas regularly counsels employers about the exceptions to Florida's "at-will" doctrine.  Assuming that the Florida employer has not fallen into one of these exceptions, an employer can terminate an employee for any reason except for a reason that violates the law. So, when is it unlawful to fire an employee in Florida? There are many reasons:

  • It is unlawful for a covered Florida employer to terminate an employee based on gender, race, color, national origin or ethnic origin, sex, marital status, pregnancy, veteran status, and in certain situations, sexual orientation.


  • It is unlawful for a covered Florida employer to terminate an employee because he or she took family or medical leave.


  • It is unlawful for a covered Florida employer to terminate an employee for discussing wages with other employees or because of the employee’s political activity.


  • It is unlawful for a covered Florida employer to terminate an employee for reporting unsafe working conditions or for whistleblowing.


  • It is unlawful for a covered Florida employer to terminate an employee who complains about a violation of law or for reporting to a governmental agency that a violation of law has occurred at the workplace.


These are just a few examples of when it is unlawful for a Florida employer to terminate an employee. There are many more examples throughout Florida law. The best way to find out if termination (or other adverse employment action) is unlawful is to call or email an employment lawyer for a free consultation. We would be happy to evaluate and provide guidance concerning your situation.

​The Human Resource Director for a Palm Beach County business asked: What does it mean to be an at-will employee in Florida?

Law Office of David Miklas, P.A.

management labor & Employment law