Is Kansas an At-Will Employment State?

By Pyle Law, Reviewed by E. THomas Pyle January 26 2024 6:19 pm

Is Kansas an At-Will Employment State?

By Pyle Law, Reviewed by E. THomas Pyle January 26 2024 6:19 pm
Is Kansas an At-Will Employment State?

When it comes to employment laws, always know your rights as an employee. One important aspect to understand is whether the state you work in follows the at-will employment doctrine. In an at-will employment state, employers have the right to terminate employees at any time, for any reason, or even for no reason at all. However, it is important to note that while Kansas is an at-will employment state, there are still laws in place to protect employees from wrongful termination. 

If you find yourself facing an unfair situation, seeking help from a Kansas employment attorney is essential.


Kansas At-Will Employment Laws

Kansas is indeed an at-will employment state, which means that both the employer and the employee have the freedom to terminate the employment relationship without cause. This means that your employer can let you go at any time and without providing a specific reason. Similarly, you are also free to resign from your job without explanation. 

However, it is important to remember that being an at-will state does not mean that employers have the right to discriminate, retaliate, or terminate employees for reasons that infringe on their protected rights. Visit out blog Kansas Employment Laws Termination to learn more about the legal regulations that you, as a worker, should be aware of.


Termination Can Still be Wrongful in an At-Will State

While Kansas follows the at-will employment doctrine, there are exceptions to this general rule. Even in an at-will state, termination can be considered wrongful if it violates certain federal and state laws. Here are some situations where termination is considered wrongful. Never hesitate to have an employment attorney evaluate whether your firing was unlawful. 


Employers cannot terminate employees based on protected characteristics such as race, color, national origin, sex, religion, disability, or age (for those over 40). If you believe you were fired due to one of these factors, it is crucial to consult with a Kansas employment attorney who can assess your situation and advise you on potential legal actions.


Employees have the right to participate in protected activities, such as reporting workplace harassment or discrimination, filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), filing a workers’ compensation claim, or taking legally protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Employers cannot terminate employees in retaliation for engaging in these protected activities.

Breach of Contract

If you have an employment contract or an agreement that guarantees your employment for a specific period or outlines the terms of termination, your employer cannot terminate your employment without cause unless the contract specifically allows it. If your employer violates the terms of your contract, it may be considered wrongful termination.

Public Policy Violations

Employers cannot terminate employees for refusing to engage in illegal activities or for reporting illegal conduct to the appropriate authorities. If you were fired for raising concerns about illegal actions within your workplace, it could be considered wrongful termination.


Additional Reasons for Filing a Wrongful Termination Claim


You have the right to report unsafe work conditions or unlawful conduct of your employer without fear of termination or other retaliatory action. If your employer terminates you for reporting conduct, it can constitute wrongful termination for whistleblowing, which is against federal and state laws.

Harassment and Constructive Discharge

Sometimes, an employer does not have to proactively terminate you for wrongful termination to occur. For example, if you are experiencing sexual harassment and your employer does nothing to stop it, you might experience a hostile work environment. The problem might become so bad that no reasonable employee would tolerate working under such conditions, and you feel you have no other choice but to leave your position. This is referred to as constructive discharge, and it is a form of wrongful termination. While difficult to prove, you still have rights if you were forced to quit your job due to intolerable working conditions. 

Medical History

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) bars employers from using genetic information when dealing with or making employment decisions such as hiring or firing. They should inquire about the family’s medical history or use genetic information to determine if certain employees risk developing specific ailments.

Damages in a Wrongful Termination Case

There are various damages you can obtain in a wrongful termination case, including:

Loss of Earnings

Lost earnings are a form of compensation for the income you could have received if you had continued working. It could include back pay, which comprises wages and salary you would have received from the date of dismissal to the present if the wrongful termination didn’t occur.

You may also receive compensation for lost benefits comprising of the following:

  • Retirement plans
  • Stock options
  • Paid leave
  • Employee assistance programs
  • Wellness
  • Education Assistance
  • Commuter benefits
  • Paid training and development

Emotional Distress

Experiencing discrimination, retaliation, or other wrongful conduct that results in job loss can be distressing. You might seek damages for any emotional distress you suffered, especially if your wrongful termination involved construction discharge. 

Attorney Fees

If you win the wrongful termination case, the court can compel the employer to pay legal costs and court expenses you incurred in the pursuit of justice. It also includes attorney fees and additional out-of-pocket costs incurred by the employee during the lawsuit.

Punitive Damages

You may also receive punitive damages if the employer knowingly discriminated in violation of the law or engaged in outrageous conduct.


How to File a Wrongful Termination Case

First, it is essential to read the original employment letter to find out their rights and determine the available options. Check whether the employer met all the terms and conditions of employment and dismissal.

You should also avoid signing any severance agreement with the employer if it involves waiving your legal rights or seeking legal relief. Most importantly, workers who are victims of wrongful termination should engage a wrongful termination attorney before signing anything or filing a claim.

Seek Help from a Kansas Employment Lawyer Right Away

If you believe you have been wrongfully terminated or are facing unfair treatment in your workplace, it is essential to seek the advice of a knowledgeable Kansas employment attorney. They can assess the details of your case, determine if you have a valid claim, and guide you through the legal process. Timing is important, as there are deadlines for filing claims, so it is important to reach out to an attorney as soon as possible.

Pyle Law can provide the guidance you need during this challenging time. Do not hesitate to contact us for a free consultation.

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Pyle Law was founded in 1999 with a commitment to fewer clients and better service. We believe that each and every client is important and everyone is entitled to justice and equal protection under our laws. We make every case a priority and are committed to keeping each client informed about the status of their case. We do not guarantee results, but we do guarantee effort.


This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by attorney E. Thomas Pyle who has more than 20 years of legal experience as a practicing personal injury trial attorney.