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When Can an Employer Fire an Employee?

September 27, 2017

When can my employer me for a work-related injury

North Carolina is an ‘at will’ employment state. Many people ask us: When can an employer fire an employee? We explain that as an ‘at will’ state, a North Carolina employer can fire an employee for any reason and does not have to establish ‘just cause.’ The employer is prohibited from firing an employee for discriminatory purposes as defined under the U.S. Civil Rights Act, i.e. race, age, gender, religion, etc., or in retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim. Often the employee feels this is patently unfair. We remind employees that while this may seem unfair, an employee has the reciprocal freedom to quit their job at anytime and are not bound to a contract subjecting them to damages. Employees have the freedom to retire, take a better job, move, etc. No contract exists between the employee and the employer. The following article from CNN addresses this topic in light of NAFTA. It’s very insightful on how state laws affect trade agreements and vice versa.