South Carolina is an “employment-at-will” state. Therefore, an employer may generally terminate an employment relationship at any time and for any reason, unless a collective bargaining agreement, employment contract, existing law, or recognized public policy provides otherwise.
Despite a strong presumption in favor of the at-will standard, however, the South Carolina courts have held that mandatory statements and procedures contained in an employee handbook or policy manual may create an employment contract. For example, the South Carolina courts have found and enforced an employment contract based on a personnel manual that did not specifically state that a disciplinary policy was discretionary (King v. PYA/Monarch, 453 S.E.2d 885 (SC. 1995)).