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Employee Discipline: Utah

Employee Discipline requirements for other states

Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.

Author: J.D. Lyons, Callister Nebeker & McCullough


  • Utah is an at-will employment state. See Employment At-Will.
  • In Utah, an employer's decision to terminate an employee's at-will employment is presumed to be valid. See Terminating At-Will Employment.
  • The presumption that the termination of an at-will employee is valid can be overcome by a showing that the termination constitutes a violation of clear and substantial public policy. See Clear and Substantial Violation of Public Policy.
  • The Utah Antidiscrimination Act (UADA) prohibits discrimination and retaliation. In addition, a number of other laws contain antidiscrimination and anti-retaliation provisions. See Discipline, Discrimination and Retaliation.
  • Employers may test job applicants for drug and alcohol use if they follow the proper procedure. A failed test, or refusal to take a test, can form the basis of adverse employment action. See Drug and Alcohol Testing.
  • Certain Utah employers must conduct background checks of their employees. See Criminal Background Checks.
  • Utah employers violate state law by firing an employee who is a US citizen or permanent resident alien and replacing him or her with an unauthorized alien. See Employee Verification.
  • An employer can exercise its discretion to discipline employees without following the discipline guidelines in the handbook if the handbook has expressly reserved such discretion to the employer. See Discretion to Depart from Progressive Discipline Outlined in Handbook.
  • Utah law allows for restrictive employment covenants in the form of either noncompete or nonsolicitation agreements, provided such covenants are carefully drawn to protect only the interest of the employer. See Restrictive Employment Covenants.
  • Utah law protects certain employee inventions from assignment in employment contracts. See Employee Inventions.
  • Utah law prohibits blacklisting of employees. See Blacklisting.
  • In Utah, an employer may, in good faith, provide information about the job performance, professional conduct or evaluation of a former or current employee to a prospective employer of that employee, at the request of the prospective employer of that employee. See Employer References.
  • Utah allows the recording of a conversation if at least one of the individuals participating in the conversation gives consent. See Recording Meetings.
  • Utah does not prohibit employers from disciplining employees for engaging in certain lawful activities outside of work. See Regulating Lawful Behaviors Outside of Work.
  • Utah's Indoor Clean Air Act bans smoking in public places. See E-Cigarettes and Tobacco Use.
  • Utah is a right to work state. See Right to Work.
  • In Utah, an employer may discipline an employee for carrying a firearm onto the employer's premises, but cannot prohibit an employee from transporting or storing a firearm in the employee's motor vehicle. See Employee's Right to Bear Arms.
  • Utah's Internet Employment Privacy Act limits an employer's ability to require employees to permit the employer access to a personal internet account. See Internet Employment Privacy Act.