North Carolina Employment Termination Laws.

Federal Anti-Discrimination laws generally apply to employers that have fifteen or more regularly employed workers. These include:

The Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination due to race, sex, national origin, and religion; the Americans with Disabilities Act; and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Employers should also be aware that the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act places certain obligations upon employers who employ members of the military reserve. An employer can often avoid accusations of discrimination when the employer can show that employees in similar situations are treated alike.

As a general rule, it is a good idea to:

  • Provide employees with a handbook that outlines the business’ expectations regarding performance, absences, use of vacation time, ethics rules that apply to the particular business, and, examples of unacceptable personal conduct. A handbook should clearly state that it is provided to employees for guidance and should not be interpreted as a contract of employment.
  • Conduct regular and candid reviews of performance;
  • Provide written warnings for unsatisfactory performance;

Even though an employee, in most instances, may be terminated “at will,” documenting legitimate reasons for termination may provide a defense against wrongful termination or discrimination charges and may support the denial of unemployment benefits when appropriate.

What does employment at will mean?

Download this article for more information on “employment at will”.”


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