2.1.2 Employment At-Will and Contractual Relationships

Mississippi is an employment at-will state, which means that neither employees nor employers have any guarantee of a continuing employment relationship.  The contents of this handbook are not intended to amend or extend any rights to employees beyond the at-will employment relationship.  This handbook is specifically not intended to be contractual in nature and shall not be deemed a contract. 

When seeking employment at the University, each applicant is required to complete an Application for Employment in the Division of Human Resources prior to an interview.  On the application, the applicant provides information necessary for careful consideration of the applicant’s ability and previous experience. 

Mississippi law requires that an employee’s compensation or compensation rate be agreed upon prior to any work being performed, and an employee cannot be paid extra compensation, including bonuses, after work has been performed.

Contract employees are hired for a specific definite term and have a written contract document, which must be approved through the University’s process, including in some cases approval by the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning.  No contract is valid unless executed in full compliance with University policy, including the existence of actual authority to enter the contract consistent with state law. 

Employees are prohibited from contracting with the University pursuant to Mississippi Conflict of Interest laws.  This prohibition extends to companies in which an employee is a principal member.  Any contract, which violates a Mississippi Conflict of Interest law or ethics rule, may be voided, even after services are rendered.  Furthermore, the Mississippi Constitution prevents any donations of public funds and any expenditure must inure to the University’s public purpose and benefit. 

Unless an employee has entered a written contract specifying in detail the contractual relationship, including a beginning and termination date, employees are considered “at-will”.  As at-will employees, persons are free to resign at any time, with or without cause, and the University may terminate the employment relationship at any time, with or without cause so long as there is no violation of applicable federal or state law.  No one has the authority to make verbal statements that change the at-will nature of employment and the at-will relationship cannot be changed or modified except through a written agreement signed by that employee and the individual authorized by the Institutions of Higher Learning and University policy.  Some contracts are not final until recorded on the minutes of the Board of the Institutions of Higher Learning.