Overview: The vast majority of employee terminations are terminations for cause, stemming from poor performance, attendance or relations with fellow employees. While employers are not always required to provide evidence substantiating a decision to terminate an employee, best practice is to prepare for such terminations as though such evidence will be required.
HR professionals and supervisors can help reduce employer risks by being proactive before termination for cause. They should speak with problematic employees to address issues that affect their performance in the workplace, conduct candid and thorough performance evaluations, encourage employees to participate in performance management plans and otherwise warn or discipline problematic employees before the final step of termination is required. And throughout this process, HR professionals and supervisors should document all of their dealings with problematic employees, in factual detail, to prepare for litigation.
Trends: Most states protect employees who are retained by specific written or verbal contract from termination without cause, even if the contract does not include such a provision. However, some states require higher levels of proof to substantiate cause than others. In Tennessee, for example, employers bear the burden of proof to establish that good cause for termination is related to the job itself, as opposed to some extraneous influence.
Montana, on the other hand, presumes that all employees are protected by just-cause termination requirements, even if they are not retained by written or verbal contract. This makes Montana the major exception to the employment at-will doctrine.
Author: Michael Jacobson, JD, Legal Editor
In-depth review of the spectrum of federal legal requirements HR must follow when terminating an employee.
In-depth review of the spectrum of Illinois employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to employment at-will doctrine.
In-depth review of the spectrum of Connecticut employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to process of termination.
In-depth review of the spectrum of Iowa employment law requirements HR must follow with respect employment at-will doctrine.
In-depth review of the spectrum of New Jersey employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to Involuntary Terminations
In-depth review of the spectrum of Minnesota employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to involuntary terminations.
In-depth review of the spectrum of Connecticut employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to involuntary terminations.
When terminating an employee who is out on Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave, an employer can avoid liability by proving that the termination decision was made regardless of whether the employee took leave or otherwise exercised FMLA rights. This How To assists an employer with terminating an employee out on FMLA leave.
An employer may use this policy to inform employees of the types of behaviors that will not be tolerated while an employee is out on FMLA leave. It is vital for an employer to provide such a policy in advance, as employees can otherwise argue that they were not aware of FMLA leave restrictions if faced with termination due to misconduct.
An employer may want to immediately terminate an employee it believes is abusing or fraudulently taking leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The employer would be wise to follow the steps in this How To before terminating an employee for FMLA fraud or abuse.
HR and legal considerations regarding termination for cause. Guidance on handling these terminations in a way that minimizes risk and liability.