Termination for Cause

For What Reasons Will an Employer Fire an Employee?

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Termination for cause is serious business. Employers and employees have many reasons for parting ways, but employment termination for cause is not a desirable outcome - for either the employer or the employee. Termination for cause generally occurs when an employee makes a severe error in actions or judgment.

Termination for Cause

When an employee's employment is terminated for cause, the employment is terminated for a reason which is given to the employee and stated in the termination letter.

Termination for cause can occur for any actions that an employer considers being grave misconduct. Examples of such situations include these.

  • Violation of the company code of conduct or ethics policy,
  • Failure to follow company policy,
  • Breach of contract
  • Violence or threatened violence,
  • Threats or threatening behavior,
  • Stealing company money or property,
  • Lying,
  • Falsifying records,
  • Extreme insubordination,
  • Harassment,
  • Failing an alcohol or drug test,
  • Conviction for some crimes, or,
  • Watching pornography online.

These are not the only reasons why an employer might fire an employee for cause. Every time I think I've seen it all, an employee proves me wrong. So, an exhaustive list is impossible. If you plan to terminate an employee's employment for cause, you may wish to talk with your attorney about any extraordinary circumstances or situations.

Termination for cause is usually immediate when an employer has gathered the needed documentation and evidence. The termination meeting is held with the employee, the employee's manager or supervisor, and a Human Resources representative.

If an employment relationship is terminated for cause, the employer will likely not have to pay unemployment compensation. You may want to check with the Department of Labor in your state to understand the rules that will govern your relationship with your employees.

An employer that is terminating an employee for cause is discouraged from paying any severance. This sends a double message that will confuse the departing employee, confuse a jury in a later lawsuit, and set a bad precedent for the employer.

Also Known As employment termination for cause, fire an employee for cause

Please Note: Susan Heathfield makes every effort to offer accurate, common-sense, ethical Human Resources management, employer, and workplace advice on this website, but she is not an attorney. The content on the site is not to be construed as legal advice. The site has a world-wide audience and employment laws and regulations vary from state to state and country to country, so the articles cannot be definitive on all of them for your workplace. When in doubt, always seek legal counsel. The information on the site is provided for guidance only.