Business Category Business: career motivation and tips to move ahead

Reasons for a termination of employment

An employer can terminate any employee at will, as long as he does not violate contract terms or employment and anti-discrimination laws. There are many reasons for termination of employment and some workers may decide to leave voluntarily.


An employee can resign, or terminate his own employment, for a number of reasons. For example, he might be unhappy with his job, he might have received a better offer elsewhere, he might be moving or he might have other personal reasons for leaving. If the employee resigns, the employer should conduct an exit interview to determine the cause, and the employer also should ask for the resignation in writing.


If there is a lack of work, if the company is undergoing financial problems or if a particular job is no longer needed, the company might make employees redundant. The employer must ensure the lay-off is fair and legal. This includes giving employees advanced notice of office closures and mass redundancies. This gives the employees and their families time to adjust to the employment loss and to seek alternative support, such as unemployment benefits.

Merger or take-over

A merger or a take-over usually requires changes within the organisational structure, which might affect employment. Although the employer is not legally required to do so, some employers offer severance packages to employees terminated under these circumstances.

Negligence or unprofessional behaviour

Employers can terminate an employee if she violates the company's policies or behaves in a manner that jeopardises the company or her colleagues. For example, if she falsifies her time sheet or physically attacks a colleague, the employer can terminate her for a reason. The employer should thoroughly document the employee's behaviour when terminating under these circumstances.

Poor performance

Employers can terminate an employee if he consistently fails to meet the standards associated with his position. Before terminating the employee, the employer should advise him of his performance deficiencies and give him a reasonable amount of time to correct the problem. The employer also should document the steps taken before termination.