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Does my employer need a reason to fire me?

As an employee, there is no denying that you have many rights. At the same time, your employer is in position to make decisions for the betterment of the company. This leads to one very important question: does my employer need a reason to fire me?

Generally speaking, the answer is no. As noted by The State Bar of California, employers are in position to discipline or fire employees at will. In other words, they are not required to provide a reason for doing so.

Just the same as any law, there are exceptions to be aware of. For example, your employer does not have the right to fire you in relation to your race, age or other personal characteristics, such as sexual orientation. This is considered illegal discrimination, which often leads to a wrongful termination lawsuit.

Furthermore, you cannot be disciplined or fired for reporting your employer for safety violations or breaking the law. There are whistleblower laws in place to protect against this.

As an employee, you hope you never run into trouble with your employer. If this happens, many details will come to the forefront, including whether or not your company has the right to terminate your employment or discipline you in some way.

The more you know about state and federal employment laws, the better off you will be if you find yourself in this position. It is good to know that there are laws in place that protect your employment. However, you should also be aware that your employer does not typically need a reason to let you go.

Source: The State Bar of California, "What are my rights as an employee?," accessed April. 14, 2015

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