Can an employee be terminated because they aren’t the “right fit”?
Technically yes, but there are some important caveats that will impact the risk you are taking to terminate an employee for “fit”….read on.
Legally speaking, Washington is an “at will” state, meaning that an employee can be terminated at any time, without notice or cause, PROVIDED it is not a reason prohibited by law which would be reasons based on the employees age, gender, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation.
This means that your termination decision has to be made based on what the employee is or is not doing in your work environment, not on who they are.
Sounds simple, but all personnel decisions not matter how clear in the decision makers mind, must be defensible in a court of law, particularly if the employee is a member of a “protected class”, and for some reason believes they have been discriminated against. .
Here are a handful of things you can do to protect yourself from claims of “unlawful” termination.