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Termination For A Cause: All You Need To Know

As an employee, dealing with termination for cause is never easy. It can be a tricky subject matter you need to be aware of to protect your rights and interests. However, it's important to note that termination for cause can be lawful as long as it’s for a satisfactory reason. But how can you determine whether the termination is for cause or without cause? This article would discuss everything you need to know.

What Is Termination For Cause?

By definition, termination for cause refers to a dismissal of an employee for satisfactory causes. It usually occurs when the actions of the employees are against the company policy, which can result in serious negative consequences for the employer, clients, and other employees.

In other words, there should be a violation of the company’s code of conduct or continuously poor performance due to some reasons. However, when an employer decides to terminate an employee for cause, the grounds should be clearly stated in the notice. Otherwise, it can be tagged as a termination without cause. This can be one of the ways businesses can protect themselves against employment lawsuits.

Termination For A Cause: All You Need To Know

Common Reasons For Terminating Employees For Cause

To better understand the concept behind termination for cause, it’s crucial to be familiar with the common reasons for doing it. Typically, employers terminate employees for cause due to the following:

Gross insubordination: When an employee flagrantly defies the orders and policies of the employer, it can lead to gross insubordination. Some examples can include rude communication with the superiors, missing work schedules without notice, insulting other employees, and failure to do the work assigned by a senior employee.

Incompetence: Each company has goals and objectives that employees need to meet within a certain period. Hence, if an employee continuously fails to meet the targets required, the employer can terminate them for a cause on the ground of incompetence. This means if you have performance inadequacies, your employer can legally terminate you. However, can you be fired for performance if you have a disability? With the help of an employment lawyer, you’ll know that being terminated for performance problems due to a disability can be considered wrongful.

Gross misconduct: This refers to an employee’s unacceptable behavior which can cause danger to them as well as damage to the reputation of the organization. Gross misconduct usually occurs when an employee violates the code of conduct provided by the company policy.

Theft of company resources: This happens when an employee takes something away from the organization. The common examples can include performing work that’s not related to the company while on duty, using the company’s intellectual property rights without permission, and utilizing company resources for personal benefit.

Conviction of a crime: If the employer provides in the written agreement that a conviction for an offense by an employee can result in termination, then it can be a ground for the employer to do so.

Serious breach of safety rules: This occurs when an employee knowingly puts other employees and the company at risk. When this happens, it can be a ground for termination.

Bribery: When an employee accepts gifts in any form, which is against the company’s policy, it can be a sufficient reason for terminating such an employee for cause. That’s because bribery can jeopardize the reputation of the company.

Termination For A Cause: All You Need To Know

Effects Of Termination For Cause

As mentioned, termination for cause can be lawful as long as sufficient grounds are established. When an employer has collected enough pieces of evidence and documentation, they can terminate an employee immediately. A meeting will be conducted with the employee, the employee’s supervisor, and the human resources (HR) representative of the company.

During the meeting, the concerned employee is furnished with a letter of termination. But since the termination is for cause, the employer may not be required to pay the employee with unemployment compensation. Also, they may be discouraged to provide severance pay as it may cause confusion to the employee regarding the real reason for the termination.

However, it’s essential to keep in mind that the amount of compensation a termination employee can receive depends on the laws applicable to the state where they’re working. In such a case, the employee can check with the Department of Labor in their state to know what rules govern their relationship with the employer.

The Bottom Line

Indeed, terminating an employee can be a complicated process, especially if you have no idea which circumstance or act can be considered egregious or flagrant. Fortunately, by keeping this information in mind, you can completely understand the concept of termination for cause.

Also, if you’ve been recently terminated by your employer, understanding this employment concept, along with hiring a lawyer for assistance, allows you to protect your rights and interests as an employee.