What Are the Causes of Termination of Employment?


Termination of employment can occur for many reasons, but there are some reasons given that are more common than others. In many cases, employers have the right to terminate employees for reasons under “just cause” rules. However, letting employees go must be handled in a reasonable and legal manner.

At-Will Employment Termination

In most regions, at-will employment laws allow companies to terminate employees for a number of nonspecific reasons, as long as they fall within civil rights and legal guidelines. The California Supreme Court ruled in 1910, that employers have the right to terminate employees for any reason and are not required to provide an actual reason as long as the termination doesn't violate any legal or civil rights of the employee. In addition, employers must be careful not to target employees in protected classes based on age, race, sex, nationality or religious affiliation, when making termination decisions.

Just Cause Employment Termination

Another reason given for employment termination is just cause termination. This occurs when there is a reasonable cause to terminate the employer-employee relationship. This can be for circumstances from low performance on the job to a violation of an employer rule. Many employees have found themselves the subject of just cause employment termination through making unwise decisions on the job such as abusing the company resources, damaging company property or missing too much time at work. In unemployment cases, employers must be able to prove just cause in order to avoid penalties as a result of termination of an employee.

Behavioral Causes of Termination

Employees who become lax on the job or misbehave at work can become subject to employee termination. Most companies have some form of employment contract and written guidelines that permit certain behaviors and activities while on the job. These guidelines can include policies on acceptable practices that employees should keep in mind when at work. Behaviors such as drug and alcohol use, fraternizing and abusing company property are off limits in most workplaces and can result in termination when employees are caught.

Work Force Reductions

When economic pressures force organizations to cut back on costs, often employee numbers are evaluated to determine if downsizing will create positive revenues. Many companies have had to make the decision to terminate employees because of financial reasons, a circumstance that is referred to as work force reductions. Employees are often chosen from low-performing departments or regional offices and let go in a layoff situation. When a work force reduction occurs, employees can be called back in the future for re-employment or there may be opportunities to transfer to other roles within an organization.

Reference
  • Department of Labor Termination Issues

Tess C Taylor


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