Terminating an Employee

Dear M & M: I have an employee I need to terminate. What should I do so I don’t get my business in trouble from doing the wrong thing? – Billy

Dear Billy:

Arizona law provides that an employer may terminate an employee at any time. The term is called “at-will employment.” The legal basis for this is that the employment relationship is considered to be like a contract and at any time either party may decide to end the employment relationship – AZLawhelp.

There always are some exceptions. Termination of employment should never be a surprise. Warnings or opportunities for improvement should be in place. The company employee handbook should spell out the rules or employment. An example of a policy in place for immediate termination could be; theft of company or other employee’s property, providing false information during the hiring process or showing up on the job intoxicated could be causes for immediate termination.

No one should be terminated because of Discrimination: Both federal and Arizona state laws prohibit employers from terminating an employee based on certain characteristics. These include race, religion, age, sex, disability, and national origin. Employees must base their decision to terminate on other factors such as work performance or attendance. Medical Conditions of the Employee: Employees cannot be fired simply because they have a medical condition.

Thus, employers may not terminate an employee who has taken medical leave in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act. Also, firing an employee because they became pregnant may be considered wrongful termination.  Legal Rights and Public Policy Issues: Employers may not fire a worker who is simply acting within their legal rights. For example, employees cannot be terminated for performing jury duty, joining a union or reporting instances of safety violations or harassment in the workplace.

In the end firing an employee is always an unpleasant things that needs to be done occasionally in every organization.  Many times letting the employee go is the only appropriate course of action. This usually involve gross misconduct; offenses so serious employers forgo disciplinary action and immediately terminate employment. There are many reasons for immediate termination, and all the reasons should appear in the company’s employee manual.

Typically, employers resort to immediate termination to protect the organization and employees. Source: – Legal Match. If you suspect you are doing something wrong or unsure connect with an attorney competent in employment law. Remember, firing anyone should be considered termination for cause, meaning an employee was terminated because of something they did wrongful. Also keep in mind a termination is different from a lay off.

-M&M

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