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Involuntary Terminations: North Carolina

Involuntary Terminations requirements for other states

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

Authors: Amie Flowers Carmack and Douglas Britt, K&L Gates LLP


  • When the parties to an employment relationship have agreed to a specific contractual term, the employer may need to demonstrate good cause in order to terminate the agreement before its specified conclusion. See Termination for Cause.
  • Most employees are eligible for unemployment benefits after their employment is terminated, but some employees may be ineligible to receive such benefits, depending on the circumstances leading up to termination. See Unemployment Benefits.
  • North Carolina law prohibits employers from disciplining or terminating employees for their off-duty and lawful use of products. See Off-Duty Lawful Use of Products.
  • Employers are prohibited from terminating employees if they engage in political or military activities, but they are generally free to terminate employees for failing drug, alcohol or even polygraph tests, so long as they follow the required protocols. See Other Limitations on Termination.
  • The North Carolina Retaliatory Employment Discrimination Act ("REDA") provides employees with protection from termination in retaliation for engaging in certain protected activities. See Anti-Retaliation Legislation.
  • Certain North Carolina employees are protected from retaliation if they engage in specified protected activities, particularly those who report instances of fraud, misuse of state funds or other violations of the law. See Whistleblower Protections.