Employment is a two-party arrangement that links an employer and an employee. Each needs the other, yet their respective interests can sometimes be in conflict in terms of rights and obligations.
The traditional view of the relationship between an employer and an employee is that an individual's employment can be terminated by an employer at any time, as long as there is no employment contract in place. This principle is known as 'employment at will'. The principle works in the opposite way in that an employee may withdraw their services in a number of ways. However, the impact of termination is usually greater on an individual employee than it is on an employer.
There are exceptions to this principle – especially if there has been unlawful discrimination on the part of the employer – and there are remedies available to the employee in law, although this would be after the reality of employment being terminated. Larger groups of employees, such as those who are covered by union agreements may have a greater degree of employment protection through union-employer agreements.