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When is it legal to fire an employee?

On Behalf of | Nov 28, 2022 | Employment Law For Employers |

Being a manager allows you to demonstrate your leadership skills in the workplace. You might even regard some of your employees as friends. However, there are some unpleasant aspects you can’t avoid when managing others – such as when it’s time to fire someone.

When terminating an employee, you have pretty broad latitude in an at-will employment state. You simply can’t terminate them for discriminatory reasons, as that would violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Many reasons justify termination, including things like personality conflicts, tardiness and more, but it’s often best if you can articulate and document a clear, non-discriminatory cause for your actions. Some of those might include:

Poor performance

Does your employee spend more time gossiping with their buddies than pitching in? Maybe they take lots of naps at their desk or stay past their allotted lunchtime. They might even play computer games when they’re supposed to be working. That’s a waste of your resources and money. 

Showing up intoxicated

Perhaps they show up to work reeking of alcohol and having slurred speech every week. That puts your operations at risk – and maybe your other employees.

Bullying or harassment

You never want to permit bullying or harassment to take root in your company culture. If an employee has become disruptive to your workforce, it may be time to take action.

As always, especially if it means firing a problem employee, documentation is key to keeping your company protected. Some employees might feel you let them go unfairly. If you’ve been accused of unfair termination, consider seeking legal guidance for your case.