Does a Position Description Prevent Me from Getting Terminated?
Unless you have an employment contract, a position description cannot prevent you from being terminated. If you do have an employment contract, the description might be able to be used as evidence in a future dispute over a breach of contract. In Minnesota, employees are presumed to be "at will." At-will employees may be terminated for any reason, or no reason at all, as long as it doesn't violate an employment or union contract or is based upon illegal discrimination. The laws governing discrimination generally don't apply to private employers with only a few employees. If an employee isn’t protected by an employment or union contract, they are typically at-will employees who may be fired for any or no reason without notice. If a contract, such as a collective bargaining agreement applies, employees may be required to be given a fair warning as to their performance and conduct which might lead to their dismissal, as well as a step-by-step procedure leading up to dismissal.
In employment at-will situations, the law generally considers the employment relationship to be terminable at the will of either party, and the party that ends the relationship is not liable to the other, even if the termination causes damage to the other party. Exceptions to the employment at-will doctrine include situations where the employer and the employee have entered into a contract, where the discharge violates a mandate of public policy, where an employer violates a duty to exercise good faith and fair dealing with the employee and where an employer has an employment handbook in place with the employee’s standard employment practices which creates certain expectations for employees. Though these exceptions do not prohibit an employer from terminating an employee, they will allow the employee to recover damages. Generally, an employer is not liable for any alleged damages suffered by an at-will employee who is fired arbitrarily, except in situations where the employer did not follow its own procedures or where the employer acted with malice. An employee who alleges that his or her employment contract was for a specified term has the burden of proving that the contract was for a defined term, and a court will typically construe an employment contract for an indefinite period of time, including a contract for "permanent" employment, to mean that the employment relationship is at will.