The National Labor Relations Authority recently distinguished acceptable at-will language from wording that may give the misimpression that even a collective bargaining agreement could not change that status. Here’s the language referenced by the NLRA press release that one of their judges found unacceptable: “I further agree that the at-will employment relationship cannot be amended, modified or altered in any way.” By contrast, the language found acceptable limited who with the employer had the authority to change the at-will arrangement, rather than requiring the employee to agree (by signing handbook) it could never be modified.
“At-will” employment refers to the situation in which an employer or employee can end their relationship at any time, for any reason that is not illegal. In other words, an employer would not have to show it had a good reason for firing the employee, or even give a reason at all. Many states–including Texas–have at-will employment as the default status for the employer-employee relationship.