Clients Rate Lawyers on our Platform 4.9/5 Stars
based on 2,788 reviews

Jump to Section

Need help with an Employment Contract?

Post Project Now

What is Termination of Employment?

Termination of employment refers to ending an employee's contract with a company. An employee could be fired for any reason, including their decision to leave the company. Employers may choose to terminate employment for various reasons, such as downsizing, poor job performances, or redundancies.

Types of Termination

Voluntary Termination

Most employees give written or oral notice of resignation when they are ready to quit. Sometimes, the employee provides a two-week notice. However, this is not a requirement for ending an at-will employment relationship unless company policy specifies otherwise.

Job Abandonment

Suppose an employee quits their job after failing to show up for work or notifying the employer. It could be considered job abandonment. Employers should have a policy that defines how many days in a row a no-call/no-show would be accepted before job termination. They should also notify employees that job abandonment is a voluntary resignation.

Involuntary Termination

For Cause

Employees may be terminated “for cause” if their conduct is considered a policy violation. It’s important to implement a progressive discipline procedure that will alert employees of the unacceptable behavior and correct it. Then, employers can feel comfortable terminating an employee when there is a consistent procedure. The employee knows that their employment is at risk.

Unsatisfactory Performance

Substandard job performances can often be best addressed with progressive discipline before termination when clear performance standards are communicated. Others, such as major accounting errors that led to costly penalties, may warrant immediate dismissal. Employers who aren't suited for the job may be fired as soon as they start working. Unemployment benefits may be available to the former employee. State unemployment agencies are not likely to view an employee's inability to perform to standards as a fault.

Without Cause

Employers might have to terminate employment because of medical reasons. However, employees have many rights under the federal and state medical leave laws. Employers should consult with an attorney before deciding to terminate without cause.

Layoff or reduction in force

An employer may need to reduce its workforce for economic or restructuring reasons. Employers may choose employees for layoffs or RIFs based on their seniority or any other non-discriminatory criteria. These employees may be offered a severance package, and they will often be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits.

Meet some lawyers on our platform

Christopher M.

12 projects on CC
View Profile

Angela Y.

3 projects on CC
View Profile

Gregory B.

52 projects on CC
View Profile

Brad H.

8 projects on CC
View Profile

State Termination Requirements

Often, an employee's final day of work is the termination or separation deadline. However, the employee's last workday is the termination or separation date. For example, an employee may be on leave while being investigated for misconduct but will not be terminated until after the investigation is complete on Thursday. The date the termination decision has been made will be significant for purposes such as final pay. However, the last working day may be relevant for unemployment and benefits decisions.

State law governs how and when an employee receives their final pay. Federal law allows the last paychecks to be issued on the next scheduled payday. However, specific states require payment within a time limit or immediately after termination. Different state laws also vary in whether unutilized vacation or sick leave hours must be refunded to the employee upon termination.

Employers should ensure that employees feel respected and treated with dignity when announcing their intention to end employment. Employers may also use these meetings to conduct exit interviews of employees who leave. This information helps employers understand why talented employees leave.

Are Employers Required to Provide Severance Pay?

Some employers may send employees notice of termination or termination pay. It is sometimes called severance. This is common in employees who have been working for the company for longer than three months. A company offering severance will do so if it has made an informal agreement or its employment handbook specifies. However, it is not required by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) that severance plans be offered.

Federal law does NOT require that employers immediately give a terminated employee a final salary. However, some state laws may dictate that employers immediately provide the affected employee the last paycheck.

Unemployment benefits can be granted to anyone unable to work due not to their fault. Each state has an unemployment program (UI) that offers financial assistance to temporary job seekers who are not employed. The U.S. Department of Labor has detailed information regarding unemployment insurance benefits.

What Does At-Will Employment Refer to?

Employers can dismiss employees without reason if they choose to use at-will employment. Employees may also be allowed to leave without explanation. As a result, at-will employment has become more popular.

Every state, except Montana, has some form or another of employment at law. It means that the employer and employee can both terminate an employment relationship for any legal reason. Some exceptions apply to employment at will. For example, a collective bargaining or employment contract could be used to override employment-at-will status. Local laws may prohibit employment, such as New York City's prohibition on fast food workers and Philadelphia's ban on parking employees. The United States is unusual because it allows employees to terminate their employment without cause. An employer can change the terms of employment without notifying or causing any consequences.

If they so choose, employees can switch jobs without notifying their employer. Of course, you can change your job without notice, but it is better to give two weeks' notice to avoid legal consequences.

Does Termination Mean Fired?

If you get fired, you are automatically terminated from the employment contract. Your employer should let your know the reason they fired you. For example, your employer may fire you for misconduct, poor performance, or because your skills aren't suitable for the job.

What Is Wrongful Termination?

Wrongful termination refers to the firing of an employee for reasons not permitted by employment law.

Employers who fire people for not complying with certain requests, like doing dangerous or illegal jobs, are also guilty of wrongful termination. Employers who change work conditions without prior notice and ultimately force an employee to leave or be fired are also accused of violating employment law. Individuals may file legal action against former employers if they are wrongfully terminated.

How Do You Fight the Termination of Employment?

You might not be able to fight the termination of employment if you were terminated for a legitimate reason, such as restructuring or theft. However, if you feel you are fired for no reason, you have options.

Make sure that you fully understand why you are being fired. Appeal the decision to your employer, or the company's Human Resources department, if you are able. You can request copies of documents such as your employment contract, communications between you or your employer concerning your performance, and your employment file. Contact your union representative if there is one. If you have a claim, you can also contact an employment lawyer.


Employees can choose to end their employment relationship with employers for many reasons. For example, some employees may leave their jobs out of choice. In contrast, others may lose their jobs due to misconduct, poor performances, or another reason.

If your contract is terminated, there are certain rights you have. You can, for example, rescind your resignation at any time if it is voluntary. If your job is lost for any reason, you may file a claim on unemployment insurance. You might have legal recourse if your employer retaliated against you and let go of you illegally. These are all possible scenarios.

Post a project in ContractsCounsel’s marketplace to get flat fee proposal from a lawyer. All lawyers in our network are vetted by our team and peer-reviewed by our customers for you to explore before hiring.

How ContractsCounsel Works
Hiring a lawyer on ContractsCounsel is easy, transparent and affordable.
1. Post a Free Project
Complete our 4-step process to provide info on what you need done.
2. Get Bids to Review
Receive flat-fee bids from lawyers in our marketplace to compare.
3. Start Your Project
Securely pay to start working with the lawyer you select.

Meet some of our Lawyers

Clara D. on ContractsCounsel
View Clara
Member Since:
October 8, 2021

Clara D.

Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
19 Yrs Experience
Licensed in IL
University of Chicago

After graduating from The University of Chicago Law School in 2002, Clara spent eight years in private practice representing clients in complex commercial real estate, merger and acquisition, branding, and other transactional matters. Clara then worked as in-house counsel to a large financial services company, handling intellectual property, vendor contracts, technology, privacy, cybersecurity, licensing, marketing, and otherwise supporting general operations. She opened her own practice in September of 2017 and represents hedge funds, financial services companies, and technology companies in a range of transactional matters.

Gregory B. on ContractsCounsel
View Gregory
Member Since:
October 18, 2021

Gregory B.

Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
San Diego, CA
3 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CA
University of San Diego

I love contracts - and especially technology-related contracts written in PLAIN ENGLISH! I've worked extensively with intellectual property contracts, and specifically with IT contracts (SaaS, Master Subscriptions Agreements, Terms of Service, Privacy Policies, License Agreements, etc.), and I have built my own technology solutions that help to quickly and thoroughly draft, review and customize complex contracts.

Grant P. on ContractsCounsel
View Grant
Member Since:
October 12, 2021

Grant P.

Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
New York
19 Yrs Experience
Licensed in FL, NJ, NY

Founder and owner of Grant Phillips Law.. Practicing and licensed in NY, NJ & Fl with focus on small businesses across the country that are stuck in predatory commercial loans. The firm specializes in representing business owners with Merchant Cash Advances or Factoring Arrangments they can no longer afford. The firms clients include restaurants, truckers, contractors, for profit schools, doctors and corner supermarkets to name a few. GRANT PHILLIPS LAW, PLLC. is at the cutting edge of bringing affordable and expert legal representation on behalf of Merchants stuck with predatory loans or other financial instruments that drain the companies revenues. Grant Phillips Law will defend small businesses with Merchant Cash Advances they can no longer afford. Whether you have been sued, a UCC lien filed against your receivables or your bank account is levied or frozen, we have your back. See more at www.grantphillipslaw.com

Jordan M. on ContractsCounsel
View Jordan
Member Since:
October 13, 2021

Jordan M.

Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Houston, TX
3 Yrs Experience
Licensed in TX
University of Houston Law Center

I am a software developer turned lawyer with 7+ years of experience drafting, reviewing, and negotiating SaaS agreements, as well as other technology agreements. I am a partner at Freeman Lovell PLLC, where I lead commercial contracts practice group. I work with startups, growing companies, and the Fortune 500 to make sure your legal go-to-market strategy works for you.

Jonathan K. on ContractsCounsel
View Jonathan
Member Since:
November 12, 2021

Jonathan K.

Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
New York, Europe (Germany, UK)
13 Yrs Experience
Licensed in NY
Georgetown University Law Center

Pico & Kooker provides hands on legal advice in structuring, drafting, negotiating, interpreting, managing and enforcing complex high value commercial transactions. Adept at navigating complex environments, Jonathan has extensive expertise advising clients on a wide range of long- and medium-term cross border and financial engagements, including public tender participation, PPPs, export sales agreements as well as policy and regulatory formulation. Jonathan and his co-founder, Eva Pico have represented and acted on behalf of lenders, global corporations and other market participants across a range of industries including financial services, infrastructure and transportation. As outside counsel, Pico & Kooker, has developed a strong rapport and working relationship with their clients and appropriately work with their in-house teams to increase consistency, processes and procedures. The company employs a unique approach as practical, business minded outside legal counsel who believe in proactively partnering with their clients to achieve desired results while managing and engaging key stakeholders. They listen to their clients to develop customized solutions that best meet their needs while aligning with their objectives, vision and values. Some representative transactions include advising the World Bank on project finance and portfolio options to address the costs and risks associated with integrating renewable power sources. Also advising them as legal counsel, Jonathan developed policies, regulation and models for emerging market governments entering into public-private partnerships. In addition to his work with the World Bank, Jonathan has worked with some of the world’s largest consulting firms, financial institutions and governmental organizations, including the United Nations, the governments of the US, UK and select African countries. Through out his career, he has worked with large, multinational corporations both by consulting in-house and acting as outside counsel on large cross-border transactions. He graduated from Georgetown University’s law school and was admitted practice as a lawyer in New York, England and Wales and, as a foreign lawyer, in Germany. He has written several articles for trade journals and has been cited by several business publications in worldwide. Jonathan is a native English speaker and has high proficiency in German and a functional understanding of Spanish.

Pelin U. on ContractsCounsel
View Pelin
Member Since:
October 18, 2021

Pelin U.

Founding Attorney
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Leander, TX
1 Yr Experience
Licensed in TX
Rutgers Law School - J.D. / Law

I am a solo practitioner and the founding attorney at Uzay Law, PLLC, which provides legal services in immigration and contracts. I am licensed to practice law in Texas. Prior to practicing law, I worked as a producer and film consultant in New York for over fifteen years. I am fluent in English and Turkish.

Elbert T. on ContractsCounsel
View Elbert
Member Since:
March 31, 2022

Elbert T.

Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Oklahoma City
1 Yr Experience
Licensed in OK
Oklahoma City University School of Law

Elbert Thomas is the founder of the Thomas Law Group, LLC. Elbert is proficient in contract creation, drafting, reviewing, and negotiating various business contracts and demand letters in industries such as construction, personal, professional services, non-profits, and real estate. In addition, Elbert is also experienced in start-ups, small business formation, drafting operating agreements, and estate planning.

Tabetha H. on ContractsCounsel
View Tabetha
Member Since:
October 26, 2021

Tabetha H.

Attorney at Law
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
San Jose, CA
24 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CA

I am a startup veteran with a demonstrated history of execution with companies from formation through growth stage and acquisition. A collaborative and data-driven manager, I love to build and lead successful teams, and enjoy working full-stack across all aspects of the business.

Reuben O. on ContractsCounsel
View Reuben
Member Since:
October 21, 2021

Reuben O.

Senior Managing Attorney
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
13 Yrs Experience
Licensed in ID, WA
The University of Iowa

As an entrepreneur at heart, I enjoy working with business owners and executives on a variety of corporate matters, including mergers and acquisitions, corporate financing, corporate governance, public and private securities offerings, privacy regulation and early-stage corporate matters including formation. As a lawyer and business professional, I understand the value of providing personal service and focused legal answers to clients navigating a rapidly changing regulatory environment. Whether in Aerospace, Consumer Goods, or Technology, I find great success in work collaboratively with clients to strategical structure their business or implementing strategic growth-oriented financing opportunities.

Thaddeus W. on ContractsCounsel
View Thaddeus
Member Since:
October 22, 2021

Thaddeus W.

Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Los Angeles, Ventura County, New York City
25 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CA, NY
University of Notre Dame Law School

Experienced legal counsel to entrepreneurs, small businesses, and investors. Advising clients starting, buying, selling, operating, financing, and investing in businesses // U.S. Army Veteran // Dog Lover // Ironman Triathlete, Marathoner, Open Water Swimmer, USAT Triathlon Coach // Oenophile

Nichole C. on ContractsCounsel
View Nichole
Member Since:
October 22, 2021

Nichole C.

Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
16 Yrs Experience
Licensed in KY
University of Louisville, Brandeis School of Law

Licensed attorney in KY and Federally JD, 2006 University of Louisville MBA, 2006 University of Louisville BS, 2001 Berea College Licensed Title Agent Arbitrator and Certified Mediator Business Consultant Adjunct Professor, Law and Business

Find the best lawyer for your project

Browse Lawyers Now

Want to speak to someone?

Get in touch below and we will schedule a time to connect!

Request a call