Employee Discipline: Mississippi
Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.
Author: Martin J. Regimbal, The Kullman Firm
- In Mississippi, in the absence of an employment contract or when a contract does not specify the term of employment, employment is considered at-will. See Employment At-Will.
- Mississippi has recognized narrow public policy exceptions to the employment at-will doctrine. See Employment At-Will.
- In Mississippi, an employer that promulgates employee handbooks may create contractual obligations on its part that override the at-will doctrine. See Employment At-Will.
- Certain communications made in the context of disciplinary action may fall within a qualified privilege protecting an employer from defamation claims. See Defamation.
- Noncompete agreements in the employment context are generally disfavored, and Mississippi courts will not uphold such agreements when the employee's termination was arbitrary, capricious or in bad faith, or when an employee is terminated shortly after entering into a noncompete agreement. See Noncompete Agreements.
- Mississippi does not have any laws explicitly prohibiting discrimination in employment by private employers, except for the prohibition against discrimination based on an individual's service in the military and, in certain circumstances, involving employment of unauthorized aliens. See Nondiscrimination by Employers.
- While not explicitly prohibiting discrimination in employment by private employers, several Mississippi statutes prohibit discrimination on the basis of certain protected characteristics in "employment supported in whole or in part by public funds." These laws condition receipt of assistance and/or loans on certification by a private employer that it does not discriminate against individuals on the basis of certain protected characteristics. See Receipt of Public Funds.
- Mississippi law mandates that all employers only hire individuals who are legal citizens of the United States of America or who are legal aliens. In certain circumstances, Mississippi law makes it a discriminatory practice to discharge an employee working in Mississippi who is a US citizen or permanent resident alien while retaining an unauthorized alien. See Mississippi Employment Protection Act.
- In Mississippi, polygraph tests may not be used as evidence in an employment lawsuit. See Polygraph Testing.
- Employers in Mississippi, in conformance with applicable federal laws, e.g., the Americans with Disabilities Act, may require employees to submit to a drug and alcohol test. In addition, employers may use an employee's refusal to submit to a drug and alcohol test, or use an employee's positive test result, as a basis for discipline. Employers in Mississippi also may voluntarily adopt the state's model drug and alcohol testing policy. See Drug and Alcohol Testing.
- Employers may not require that an employee abstain from smoking or using tobacco products during nonworking hours. See Use of Tobacco Products.
- Mississippi allows the use of cannabis by qualifying individuals for medical purposes, but does not prohibit disciplining them for ingesting it at work or for working while under the influence of medical cannabis. See Medical Cannabis.
- Mississippi law protects an employee's political activities from employer coercion or threats. See Political Activities.
- Employers may not prohibit an employee from expressing breast milk during any meal period or other break period provided by the employer. See Breastfeeding Rights.
- Mississippi employers may not prohibit an employee from transporting or storing a firearm in a locked vehicle in any generally accessible parking lot or garage. See Employee's Right to Bear Arms.