Cynthia Estlund

Document Type



For Professor Epstein, the distinctively American rule of employment-at-will (“EAW”) in its original, harsh form—which allowed either party to terminate employment at any time for good reason, bad reason, or no reason at all—is an exemplar of “simple rules for a complex world.” This Essay will reflect on a few ways in which EAW, plain and simple, is too simple for our complex world—too simple in light of the complexities of labor markets and of human and organizational behavior, and too simple in light of evolving societal conceptions of justice. As things now stand, given the legal complexity that has been layered atop the EAW rule in this complex world, the “just cause” rival of EAW would bring greater simplicity along with its primary virtues of fairness, economic security, and dignity for workers.



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