Terminating At Will Employees

Oct 22, 2022

If an employee works in an “at will” state, he/she can be terminated at any time and for any reason, unless it’s an illegal reason.

With that being said, businesses who fire employees without some type of counseling or at least telling him/her there is an issue BEFORE the termination meeting, might be asking for trouble.

While this is not necessarily illegal, companies should take the time to allow the employee to correct the problem before jumping to an immediate termination. Employees won’t be happy to hear for the very first time at the termination meeting they were unknowingly doing a poor job at work.

This causes frustration, resentment and can lead to assumptions that the termination was illegal.

If businesses want to retain high performing, efficient employees, maintain high morale and avoid employee lawsuits, they should consider the following:

- Try to find a solution to whatever if causing the employee issue. This involves communications to identify the issues;

- Consider making adjustments to old systems so the employee can become successful in his/her position

- Allow the employee time to improve and to correct the issue (within reason of course)

Abrupt terminations of “at will” employees, while not necessary illegal, should not be what the company is striving for. Consider other options.

Do your managers know how to respond to sensitive employee issues? Check out my on demand and LIVE (by zoom) employment law trainings, so your management team can make decisions regarding employees legally.

Check out my Free Legal Workshop: 4 Mistakes You Are Making That Lead to Employee Lawsuits -   (Sign up HERE).
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HR Trainings and Courses

Step-By-Step Guide to Investigating a Sexual Harassment Complaint: Download here.

The Employer's Termination Checklist: A Guide to Terminating an At Will Employee and Avoiding Retaliation Claims. Download Here. 

For informational purposes only. Not legal advice.

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