Which workers have to be fired for cause?

On Behalf of | Feb 12, 2024 | Employee Rights |

You will sometimes hear it reported that an individual has been fired for cause. This means that there is a distinct reason why they are being let go. Perhaps they breached their contract or violated policies that were in place, such as getting arrested or bringing bad publicity to the company. Various companies can have different policies that they expect employees to uphold.

But there are other workers who get fired and feel that they haven’t done anything wrong and there’s absolutely no reason for them to lose their job. Maybe they’ve always gotten great performance reviews and worked hard for the company. The firing feels unfair and they wonder if it’s even illegal since they’re not being fired for cause. Could this be the case?

It depends if they have an employment contract

If you find yourself in this position, the key is whether or not you have a contract. If you do, it may say that you can only be fired for cause. It may even give examples of some of the reasons why your position could be terminated – like misappropriation of company funds. These contracts are often used for CEOs, CFOs and other high-level executives.

But most employees, especially those at the lower levels of the organization, are just going to be at-will employees. This means they don’t have employment contracts. If you fit into this category, then your employer doesn’t actually need a reason to fire you. You don’t have to be fired for cause, but you can be let go at any time. This is similar to your right to quit and walk away from your position at any time. The relationship works both ways.

When disputes arise between employers and employees, those involved must be sure they understand all their legal options.


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