The workforce of today is more litigious than ever in many ways. Employees are generally aware of their rights and not afraid to protect them in the face of perceived mistreatment.
In at-will employment states like Texas, you can fire workers for any reason provided you do not break federal or state laws. Still, caution is wise when terminating employees for cause.
Examples of “cause” when firing workers
Again, employees are savvy about their rights, and many will recognize an improper termination. As you may suspect, unlawfully ending a work relationship can lead to employment litigation.
To help you determine if the reason you want to fire your worker is legal and valid, here are a few examples of generally allowable causes for termination.
- Coming to work impaired by drugs or alcohol
- Workplace criminal conduct like theft or driving drunk
- Harassing or discriminating against co-workers
- Violating safety rules or procedures intentionally
- Habitual tardiness or absenteeism
- Committing acts of violence in the workplace
You may also have grounds to terminate an employee for cause if they are grossly insubordinate or constantly combative.
For cause termination tips
Now that you understand more about terminations for cause, it is time to learn how to enhance your legal protection when you must fire an employee. Here are some tips to consider implementing.
- Try to resolve the matter before terminating
- Write a script to help you inform the employee in clear terms
- Bring supporting documentation (performance reviews, disciplinary actions, etc.) to the exit interview
- Have a witness (human resources member, etc.) on hand when you speak with the employee
- Keep the discussion short and treat the employee with respect and sensitivity
Unfortunately, all the caution in the world might not prevent an exiting worker from pursuing employment litigation. In such circumstances, legal guidance could make a difference in the outcome of your case.