Taking Fear And Intimidation Out Of The Legal Process, And Arming You With The Facts

  1. Home
  2.  » 
  3. Employment Law For Employers
  4.  » When may the law allow employers to terminate at-will employees?

When may the law allow employers to terminate at-will employees?

On Behalf of | Jul 7, 2023 | Employment Law For Employers |

Both the Code of Virginia and federal employment laws generally permit reasonable layoffs or terminating an “at-will” employee at an employer’s discretion. By establishing an “at-will” employment relationship, you may terminate a worker for any lawful reason, as reported by CNBC.

At-will employees who perform poorly or show up late, for example, may face termination without an advance notice requirement. Employers could also lay off at-will workers at any time if the need exists to reduce operating expenses.

Exceptions that may affect an at-will employment termination

State and federal labor laws prohibit terminating employees in retaliation for reporting unlawful activities. If an employee reports workplace harassment, for example, you may not terminate the individual in response to his or her complaint.

Some workers who classify as members of a “protected class” may report a termination as discrimination. When you terminate an employee, you may not base your decision on your worker’s age, race or color. Protected classes include individuals from another nation or individuals who practice different religions. Employees with disabilities or medical issues may also fall into the protected class category.

Certain employers must provide advance layoff notices

As CNBC also reports, federal law requires certain employers to provide their workers with a 60-day advance notice of an upcoming layoff. If you have at least 100 employees and plan to conduct a mass layoff or shut down a plant, office or commercial location, you must provide the affected employees with advance written notice.

Without an employment contract that offers a severance package, you may terminate at-will workers without a requirement for post-employment pay or benefits. The law, however, requires paying employees for the time they spent working up until the end of their final day of employment.