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What should employers know about legally terminating employees?

On Behalf of | Mar 27, 2023 | Employer Law (Employer)

In recent years as employment law and disputes about various issues have gotten more attention from the media and the public, employers are cast as being in the wrong. In truth, employers have rights too and that include deciding if they want to keep an employee or dismiss them.

For Pennsylvania businesses that are facing allegations of wrongdoing when terminating employees, it is important to know how to comply with the law and make sure that if complaints are lodged, the employer has been aboveboard and is protected. This often requires legal guidance before and after the employment decision is made.

Terminating at will employees and those who are working under contract

Many workers are considered “at will.” This is a person who was hired for a job, but does not have a contract that stipulates their role, its duration and more. At-will employees can be terminated whenever the employer decides to let them go provided it is not a legal violation.

If, for example, the business is not doing as well as it once was or there are too many employees doing the same type of job, the employer has the right to dismiss an employee. However, the dismissal cannot be due to race, age, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or other unlawful justifications.

Apart from that, the employer can simply fire the employee if they choose to do so. The employee also has the right to simply leave without giving notice.

For employees who are under contract, the law differs from how it covers at-will employees. If an employer gives an employee a contract, there must be a good reason to terminate them before it expires. An employee who steals could be terminated. This would be just cause. Just like at-will employees cannot be terminated for discriminatory reasons, the same holds true for contracted employees.

Employers should be protected when dealing with employees

It is difficult running a business under any circumstances, but when an employer is accused of wrongdoing when handling employees, it can be costly financially and damage their reputation in the community. Knowing how to legally terminate employees is just one aspect of running a business.

From instituting policies, creating employee handbooks, deciding on the business structure, adhering to the law, dealing with unions and more, it is critical to have experienced help. To be shielded for every eventuality, it is wise to have professional assistance that understands employment law from every perspective.