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Termination guidance for employers

Federal and state agencies have laws about how and when employees can be fired. Follow these policies and your company guidelines to avoid wrongful termination claims.

At will employment

All states, except Montana, allow "at will" employment. This means that an employer or employee can end the employment at any time, for any reason. However, the reason for termination cannot be illegal. This includes:

  • Discrimination based on race, sex, age (40 and over), nation of origin, disability, or genetic information
  • Retaliation for reporting illegal or unsafe workplace practices
  • Refusing to conduct illegal activities

Exceptions to at will employment

At will employment may not apply to everyone. It does not include employees who work:

  • Under a signed contract
  • According to a union's collective bargaining agreement
  • In the public sector

Resources for employers

These government resources can help you make sure you are following termination rules:

LAST UPDATED: December 6, 2023


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