What Does Terminated Mean?

Clients Rate Lawyers on our Platform 4.9/5 Stars
based on 4,069 reviews

Jump to Section

Need help with a Severance Agreement?

Post Project Now

Post Your Project (It's Free)

Get Bids to Compare

 Hire Your Lawyer

No one ever wants to terminate an employee. Not only is it an awkward social situation, but it also requires companies to comply carefully with the rules surrounding employment. Handling terminations poorly can result in expensive legal consequences.

This article outlines what companies should know about being terminated, types of termination, termination processes, and more.

What Does Being Terminated Mean?

Being terminated means that an employer fired an employee. The voluntary or involuntary termination signifies that employment ends. State and federal laws determine how companies should handle employee terminations.

Here is a web page about the termination of employment.

Types of Termination

There are two types of termination, including voluntary and involuntary. Both carry different legal implications and follow various protocols according to company policy and culture.

Let’s take a closer at the differences between voluntary and involuntary termination below:

Voluntary Termination

Voluntary terminations are when an employer terminates an employee or when the employee voluntarily resigns. Examples of voluntary terminations include company policy terminations, retirement, taking a position with another company, and going back to school

Involuntary Termination

Involuntary terminations occur when the employee is leaving the company beyond the employer’s control. Examples of involuntary termination include layoffs, poor company performance, and downsizing. Involuntary termination may offer the aggrieved employee benefits, such as severance pay and severance packages .

Both types of termination require company managers to comply with local employment laws and contract rules. Speak with employment lawyers to review your termination process to ensure that you comply with local, state, and federal employment laws.

Process of Termination

Employee termination is sometimes unavoidable. After all, you have performance goals and financial objectives to meet. Ensure that you take a measured and consistent approach to terminating employees.

Below, we have outlined the eight steps you should take when going through the process of termination with your workers:

Step 1. Speak with the Employee About Issues

Employees should receive notice that they violate your company’s policies. Some employees may only require a warning, whereas more severe incidents require immediate removal. Let the employee know what they did and how they can avoid future violations.

Step 2. Monitor the Employee’s Progress

The employee should receive a reasonable opportunity to demonstrate compliance going forward. Doing so allows you to retain an already-trained worker while building trust with your staff overall. You could also continue to experience issues with the employee, which may warrant the need for termination.

Step 3. Escalate the Issue with Human Resources

Speak with your human resources manager before terminating your employee to ensure all documentation is in order, including severance agreements , employee separation agreements , employee severance agreements , and more. Following through on your contractual obligations is essential to protecting your company.

Step 4. Set the Stage for Termination

Consider where you will physically inform your employee that you are terminating their employment. The best place to fire a worker is in a private setting and away from prying eyes. A tactful termination can prevent negative consequences from arising and communicates respect for their situation.

Step 5. Prepare Before Your Meeting

Take a few minutes to outline what you want to say before meeting with the employee and actions to take following the discussion. Some companies require immediate removal of the premises with security regardless of the circumstances. You should always have a plan of action in place to curry the most favorable outcome.

Step 6. Meet with the Employee

Avoid mincing words when terminating an employee and get straight to the point. You should also quickly provide a reason as to why since this feedback can provide tremendous personal value to them and legal protection for you. It is okay to answer their questions for clarification but make sure that you stick to the facts.

Step 7. Document the Termination

It is critical to create and retain documentation surrounding employee terminations. You may need to call upon the details of the situation in the future, and these records can prove invaluable. Retain records for at least seven years as a general rule of thumb.

Step 8. Rescind Access to Company Systems and Property

Allow the employee to collect their personal belongings and rescind their key, employee ID, and other company property. Restrict access to your company’s computer systems and change passwords, locks, and door codes to prevent unauthorized usage. This step’s objective is to ensure they do not have access to your company’s private property.

Meet some lawyers on our platform

Albert M.

9 projects on CC
View Profile

Kelvin R.

11 projects on CC
View Profile

Jonathan M.

1 project on CC
View Profile

Michael M.

182 projects on CC
View Profile

Termination of Employment Reasons

State and federal laws give your company the right to terminate employees, and rules vary according to the state in which you operate. For instance, you should find out if your state laws follow right to work or at-will employment doctrines since both significantly impact legitimate reasons for termination.

Seven most common reasons for termination include:

  • Reason 1. Incompetence : Incompetence is when an employee fails to perform and meet expectations relative to the progress of your other staff members over time. Try to incorporate numerical meaning from performance reports so you can explain exactly where they failed.
  • Reason 2. Falsified resumes : Falsified resumes are when an employer discovers that the employee lied about their career and educational accomplishments. You have the legal right to terminate employees for falsified resumes if you discover it during their course of work.
  • Reason 3. Absenteeism : Excessive absences have a negative impact on your bottom line when they exceed standard time off policies.
  • Reason 4. On-site criminal activity : You do not have to retain a worker that commits crimes on your property. Some employment contracts require termination even if the crime occurred during off-hours.
  • Reason 5. Work attitude : Overtly unpleasant, harmful, divisive people can affect the productivity of those around them. These cases are challenging to prove if you terminate the employee, so ensure that you carefully document social and attitude problems, including specific acts.
  • Reason 6. Sexual harassment : Sexual harassment is never okay regardless of gender or age. Terminate employees who engage in sexual harassment. You should also investigate these claims beforehand to prevent future legal issues from arising.
  • Reason 7. Insubordination : Employers have a reasonable expectation that employees will follow company policy. When repeated violations occur, you can terminate employees based on insubordination.

Your employee hiring, evaluation, training, and termination processes should remain objective through every employee’s employment duration. If your human resources follow specific protocols, you make it easier for courts to understand your side of the story should a wrongful termination case arise.

Learn about employee code of ethics and employment handbooks .

At-Will Employment

At-will employment is when employers and employees share a relationship based on the understanding that either party can terminate their relationship at any time and for any reason. These types of employment relationships do not require two weeks’ notice or a resignation later . Employers have the right to change the terms and conditions of the employment relationship as they see fit, including compensation and job duties, without any employee’s notice or consent.

There are exceptions under at-will employment, such as public policy, implied contracts, and retaliation. Ensure that you follow the laws of your state carefully to avoid wrongful termination claims in the future. Employment lawyers will navigate the complexities surrounding employment contract reviews on your behalf while helping you manage employment contract costs.

Get Help from an Employment Lawyer

Do you need a consultation from an employment lawyer related to termination?

Post a project in ContractsCounsel’s marketplace to get bids from lawyers in our network. All lawyers are vetted by our team and peer-reviewed by our customers for you to review 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

Elizabeth W. on ContractsCounsel
View Elizabeth
5.0 (2)
Member Since:
December 11, 2021

Elizabeth W.

Legal Counsel
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Minneapolis, MN
6 Yrs Experience
Licensed in MA, RI
Suffolk University Law School

Liz is an experienced insurance professional, having worked with carriers and brokers for over 10 years. She can review or draft a variety of commercial agreements and is here to help your business. Specialties include: Master Service Agreements, business process outsourcing, marketing and partnership agreements, broker agreements, business associate agreements, and NDAs.

Kristen R. on ContractsCounsel
View Kristen
4.8 (26)
Member Since:
January 10, 2022
Brittany B. on ContractsCounsel
View Brittany
Member Since:
December 4, 2021

Brittany B.

Attorney
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Ann Arbor, MI
9 Yrs Experience
Licensed in MI
Wayne State University Law School

Brittany advises startups and emerging and public companies at all stages of growth, with focuses on formation and corporate governance matters, securities, venture capital financings, M&A and other strategic transactions, commercial contracts and general corporate counseling. Brittany represents clients across a broad spectrum of industries, including technology, automotive, mobility, digital health, consumer products and manufacturing.

James A. on ContractsCounsel
View James
Member Since:
December 5, 2021

James A.

Attorney
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Birmingham, AL
6 Yrs Experience
Licensed in AL
Birmingham School of Law

James Allen is a native of Birmingham, Alabama. Mr. Allen has a considerable amount of experience in the areas of domestic relations, criminal law, family law, and general civil litigation.

Emily Y. on ContractsCounsel
View Emily
Member Since:
December 6, 2021

Emily Y.

Partner
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Colorado Springs, Colorado
7 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CO
University of Colorado

I am available to advise on entity formation, contracts, and employment policies. I am also comfortable litigating business disputes including partnership disputes and employment cases. Prior to opening my current practice, I worked for several years in a small civil litigation practice focused on employment matters and civil litigation. I attended law school at the University of Colorado, and I went to the University of British Columbia for my undergraduate education.

Philip M. on ContractsCounsel
View Philip
Member Since:
December 13, 2021

Philip M.

Attorney
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
San Diego
5 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CA
Thomas Jefferson School of Law

I have been a freelance attorney for several years and have many of my clients returning to me for continued work because of the quality I produce.

Amy Sue L. on ContractsCounsel
View Amy Sue
Member Since:
January 4, 2022

Amy Sue L.

President, Concierge Legal
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Washington, DC Metropolitan Area
26 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CA, PA, VA
Pepperdine University School of Law

Ms. Leavens is a corporate attorney with 10 years of experience as the General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer and Corporate Secretary of a Congressionally chartered, non-profit corporation, and more than 20 years of experience as an advisor to executive officers and boards of directors in for-profit and non-profit organizations. She has substantial experience within in-house legal departments managing cross-functional teams comprised of multiple business units and attorneys on large-scale mission critical projects, and within a global law firm as a manager of public and private, domestic and international, multi-party business transactions. She has unique experience implementing government-sponsored business initiatives. Ms. Leavens was honored in 2015 as one of Washington, D.C.’s Top Corporate Counsel by Bisnow and the Association of Corporate Counsel; nominated in 2014 for the Association of Corporate Counsel (WMACCA) Outstanding Chief Legal Officer Award; and the recipient in 2014 of WMACCA’s Community Service Award.

Elizabeth V. on ContractsCounsel
View Elizabeth
Member Since:
January 5, 2022

Elizabeth V.

Corporate Counsel
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Indianapolis, IN
9 Yrs Experience
Licensed in IN
IU McKinney School of Law

Most of my career has been as in-house counsel for technology companies. My responsibilities included managing all vendor/procurement contracts and compliance, customer/partner/reseller contracts and compliance, data security/privacy compliance and incident responses, HR/employment issues, and legal operations. I am very comfortable negotiating Commercial Contracts, Vendor Agreements, and Procurement Contracts for goods, services, and licensing, as well as addressing Employment & Labor, Intellectual Property, and Data Privacy issues and compliance. I specialized and have a certificate in IP in law school and continued to develop in that area as in-house counsel for Interactive Intelligence, Genesys, which are unified communication companies, and KAR Global in the automobile digital services lines of business.

Amos M. on ContractsCounsel
View Amos
Member Since:
January 13, 2022

Amos M.

Principal
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Nashville, TN
15 Yrs Experience
Licensed in GA, TN
Mississippi College School of Law

Since 2008, I have worked to assist clients in solving problems and addressing challenges that inevitably arise as a business grows - both anticipated and unexpected. My experience in Georgia and Tennessee in both drafting contracts and enforcing them via litigation and/or arbitration has provided clients with unique insights that help them anticipate problems and inform their decisions from start to finish.

Leah C. on ContractsCounsel
View Leah
Member Since:
January 18, 2022

Leah C.

Attorney
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Alabama
8 Yrs Experience
Licensed in AL
Birmingham School of Law

I am an attorney licensed in Alabama and have been in solo practice for 7 years. I have experience in Contracts drafting and review, Litigation and Immigration practice areas. I am available for new projects.

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