North Dakota 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 North Dakota courts have indicated that statements contained in an employee handbook or policy manual may create an employment contract. For example, the Court of Appeals decided that when an employer issues a personnel handbook to employees, the entire manual will be examined to determine whether it overcomes the presumption of at-will employment (Schmidt v. Ramsey County, 488 N.W.2d 411 (N.D. Ct.App. 1992)).