Firing “At-Will” Employees: How to Protect Yourself

With “at-will” employment, do you actually need a reason to fire someone? The answer is YES!

Firing "At-Will" EmployeesThat is, unless you can guarantee the employee knows exactly why you fired him or her. You must have absolutely no doubt they think their firing was not because of age, sex, religion, national origin and other protected classes.

The “at-will” employment principle means employers can terminate employees without showing cause or even have no reason at all.

However, you had better been sure that you not only had a strong reason, but that it was also lawful and well documented. Defending a charge of violation of an employee’s civil rights, you need to declare a valid reason for your action, as well as proving—in a court of law—that your actions are permitted, true and without prejudice.

When hiring, the last thing on your mind is discipline or termination. However, some employees simply do not work out.

Some things to consider when deciding to terminate (or discipline) an employee, even in an “at-will” situation:

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