Under what conditions can an employee be legally terminated?

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Under what conditions can an employee be legally terminated?

I have an employee who has only been with us about 45 days. She is still within her 90 day probationary period. Since starting with us, she has been arrested (not convicted) for principal to attempted murder (claiming self defense). She has been advised that her performance related to finishing tasks is OK, but that she needs to take more initiative. I just found out today that she is pregnant, and did not disclose it to us. She has not asked for any special accommodations, or claimed she cannot do the job as a result. Am I within my rights to terminate her employment?

Asked on August 2, 2011 Florida

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If she is not employed based upon a contract of employment but is merely an employee at will then yes, you can terminate her employment for any reason.  Now, that does not mean that she may not sue claiming that she was discriminated upon for some reason (although you claim she has not told you about the pregnancy you obviously know and you can not lie about that if asked).  And you can indeed fire someone if they are pregnant as long as that is not the basis for firing them.  That would be discrimination. I hope that you have covered your self and made notes about her behaviour at work and had her sign reviews, etc., regarding the initiative as well just to be sure.  Good luck.


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