According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the United States is among a handful of countries where employment is generally “at-will.” Most countries only allow employees to be dismissed for cause.

University of North Carolina School of Law professor and associate dean for academic affairs Jeffrey Hirsch and attorney Samuel Estreicher recently examined “at-will” employment in the article “Comparative Wrongful Dismissal Law: Reassessing American Exceptionalism.” The two discuss the piece in an entry on the Workplace Prof Blog examining how “at-will” stacks up against dismissal for cause.

While other countries’ cause rules differ significantly from the United States on paper, the authors examine whether this really translates into employee protection against wrongful termination, finding that it’s “far less robust than typically described.”

The two say “the actual practice in these countries [those surveyed that rely on cause] shows that challenges to dismissal can be difficult to pursue and generally result in modest remedies by United States standards.”