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Wrongful Discharge Claims Limit Employment At-Will Doctrine in North and South Carolina

Employment in North and South Carolina is at-will, which generally means an employer can terminate an employee at any time without notice. However, both states have long-recognized exceptions to the employment-at-will doctrine, including provisions that an employee cannot be discharged for reasons that contravene the “public policy” of the state. Although courts in North and South Carolina generally construe public policy wrongful termination claims narrowly, at least one recent court decision has signaled a willingness to broaden the scope of such claims, potentially exposing employers to more lawsuits by terminated employees.
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