Employee Discipline: Idaho
Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.
Author: Scott Randolph, Holland & Hart, LLP
- Idaho is an at-will employment state. While at-will employees can generally be disciplined or discharged for any reason or no reason, exceptions apply. See Protection from Wrongful Discharge.
- Oral statements or handbook language contradicting at-will employment may be enforced as binding agreements against the employer if the intent to form such an agreement is not disclaimed. See Protection from Wrongful Discharge.
- Employees may not be terminated if the reason would violate either law or strong public policy, such as the right to file for workers' compensation, or to be free from illegal discrimination. See Protection from Wrongful Discharge.
- Other restrictions on employer retaliation also exist, including for whistleblowers, and employees who participate in proceedings under Idaho wage and hour law. See Other Retaliation Protections.
- Employers should keep in mind that any adverse employment action, such as discipline, is subject to challenge if motivated, in whole or in part, by illegal discrimination or by an employee's use of protected job leave. See Discipline, Discrimination and Protected Leaves.
- Idaho State employees enjoy certain protections regarding off-duty political activities. See Off-Duty Political Activities.
- Employers may not discipline employees in violation of laws designed to protect employee privacy, such as the restrictions on use of polygraph testing. See Disciplinary Restrictions Based on Employee Privacy; Lie Detector Tests.
- Private employers may test employees for alcohol or drugs and discipline them accordingly, but there are restrictions in this area for public employers. See Disciplinary Restrictions Based on Employee Privacy; Idaho Private Employer Alcohol Drug Free Workplace Act.
- Certain Idaho municipalities regulate e-cigarette use. See E-Cigarettes.
- Employers may discipline employees for theft of trade secrets, and seek remedies under the Uniform Trade Secrets Act. See Theft of Trade Secrets.
- Covenants not to compete are enforceable in Idaho, subject to several limitations. See Violation of Noncompete Agreements.
- Employers should avoid forcing employees to submit to disciplinary interrogation or investigation by requiring them to remain in any confined area, as it can provoke common law claims such as false imprisonment. See False Imprisonment.