Employee Termination: What Employers Need To Know

Employers fire employees for many reasons, including performance and layoffs due to economic downturns. However, follow proper termination procedures when firing an employee to prevent legal issues. Here is what you need to know about terminating an employee’s contract.

Grounds for Termination

Employers have several legitimate reasons to terminate employee contracts, grounded in specific circumstances or actions. These grounds ensure a fair and justified decision, protecting the interests of both parties involved. Here are some common factors that may lead to termination:

  • Performance: When an employee consistently fails to meet the established performance standards despite receiving adequate training, coaching, and support, termination may be considered as a last resort.
  • Misconduct: Instances of serious misconduct, such as theft, fraud, harassment, violence, or substance abuse, can result in immediate termination. These actions violate workplace policies and disrupt the working environment.
  • Violation of company policies: Breaching important company policies, including code of conduct, safety regulations, or confidentiality agreements, may lead to termination. These policies are in place to protect the organization and maintain a productive work environment.
  • Attendance issues: Frequent and unexcused absences, tardiness, or excessive unauthorized leave disrupt the workflow and burden coworkers. If an employee consistently fails to meet attendance requirements, termination may be considered.
  • Insubordination: Repeated refusal to follow legitimate directives, disregard for authority, or disrespectful behavior towards supervisors or colleagues can lead to termination. It undermines the hierarchical structure and overall cooperation within the organization.
  • Job elimination or restructuring: In cases where the job role becomes redundant due to business changes, downsizing, or reorganization, termination may occur. This is typically done following appropriate procedures and considering alternatives like redeployment or retraining.

Employers should engage in a fair and transparent process, providing clear communication, documentation, and an opportunity for the employee to present their side of the story, if applicable. 

Dismissal Notice

The purpose of a notice is to provide the employee with sufficient time to prepare for the end of their employment and to seek alternative employment opportunities. The notice period may vary depending on factors such as the length of employment, applicable labor laws, and any contractual agreements.

However, there are certain situations where notice may not be required, such as cases of serious misconduct or a fundamental breach of contract by the employee. In such instances, immediate dismissal without notice, known as summary dismissal, may be justified.

Wrongful Dismissal

In a wrongful dismissal, the employer fails to provide valid reasons or evidence to justify the termination, disregarding the employee’s rights to due process and fair treatment. It typically involves a breach of the employer’s obligations, such as failing to give proper notice, ignoring the disciplinary or grievance procedures, or unfairly dismissing an employee without any warning or opportunity to address any performance or conduct issues.

One cause of wrongful dismissal is when an employer terminates an employee without just cause. In such cases, the employer fails to provide valid reasons or evidence for the termination and disregards the employee’s right to due process. 

Another cause is when an employer breaches the terms of the employment contract by terminating the employee before the agreed-upon end date or without fulfilling contractual obligations. This can include not providing proper notice or severance pay, as the contract outlines.

If an employee is terminated based on race, gender, age, religion, or disability, it constitutes wrongful dismissal and violates anti-discrimination laws. Retaliation is another type of wrongful dismissal, in which an employer terminates an employee in response to the employee’s lawful actions, such as reporting workplace harassment or engaging in protected activities.

Moreover, wrongful dismissal can occur when an employer violates statutory rights, such as terminating an employee for exercising their legal entitlements, such as taking family or medical leave.

Are you facing a wrongful dismissal lawsuit? Mohajerian Law Corp can help you. We offer litigation defense and representation. Contact us now for more information.