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LegalCornerTM - Termination & Final Wage F.A.Q.'s

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Q.Can an employer fire an employee without a good reason?

A.YES, in most cases (depending upon your state law) is is NOT wrongful termination to fire an employee without good cause. Pursuant to the "at will" employment doctrine, an employee may quit at any time and an employer may fire an employee any time. But there are exceptions.

An employer does NOT have the right to fire an employee without good cause if: (1) there is a binding employment contract for a term or with contrary language in place, (2) the company’s employee manual states otherwise, (3) the firing is in retaliation for exercising rights under Workers'Compensation or OSHA laws, (4) the firing is in retaliation for reporting the illegal conduct of the employer, (5) the firing is in violation of an anti-discrimination laws (pregnancy, disability, age, race, religion, sex, and national origin); and most recently (6) the firing occurs after the employee has a resonable expectation of continued employment (e.g. vberbal or written assurances).

This reasonable expectation of continued employment essentially creates an "Implied Contract" between the employer and the employee pursuant to which the employer impliedly agrees not to terminate an employee absent "good cause."

To determine whether an employee has a reasonable expectation of continued employment, the courts will look at various objective factors such as: the length of employment, the company's employment policies, assurances given the employee, the labor market and employment trends in the company's industry.

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