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Can a company fire an employee due to poor performance?

Chicago, IL |

An employee has been spending 80% of her time on a non profitable account. She was spoken to about it a couple times. The company wants to terminate her based on her performance and outsource that unproductive account to a third party. Can the employee sue the company for this termination? Or do they have to write her up ad give her time to become a performer? Please advice.

Attorney Answers 4


  1. Best answer

    Poor employee performance is among the most justifiable and least vulnerable reasons for any employer to terminate any employee.

    If the employee is not represented by a union with a collective bargaining agreement in place that limits the employer's rights and powers, and if the employee does not have an employment contract between the employee and the employer, then the employee is an "at will" employee. "At will" employees can be terminated for any reason -- or no reason -- at any time so long as the termination is not based on employer bias for race, religion, national origin, etc.

    No prior warnings or opportunities to correct are required unless the employer has previously made a binding statement that all such employees will not be fired without prior warnings and second chances to correct failures of performance.

    If you are going to exercise employer at will powers, the best means is to make no statement of reason for the decision. There is no purpose or benefit to a statement of reason and it can only complicate and make the situation more difficult. It takes some self-discipline and presence of mind, but make no statement of reason or explanation. Remove the employee permanently from the premises at the time of the termination. Have final accurate paycheck in hand. Offer to confirm dates and nature of employment -- but nothing more -- to any other potential employers who may inquire. of you. That's it.

    No legal advice here. READ THIS BEFORE you contact me! My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as if they were legal advice. I give legal advice ONLY in the course of a formal attorney-client relationship. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. That relationship is established only by joint execution of a written agreement for legal services. My law firm does not provide free consultations. Please do not call or write to me with a “few questions” that require me to analyze the specific facts of your history and your license application and prescribe for you how to get a State license. Send me an email to schedule a paid Consultation for that kind of information, direction, and assistance. My law firm presently accepts cases involving State and federal licenses and permits; discipline against State and federal licenses; and disciplinary and academic challenges to universities, colleges, boarding schools, and private schools. We take cases of wrongful termination or employment discrimination only if the claims involve peace officers, universities or colleges.


  2. Poor performance is a reason to fire an employee

    Hire an attorney to advise you on the way to go about this. Your company needs an attorney, clearly.

    www.brinkmeierlaw.com


  3. I agree with attorney Brinkmeier. Rather than take a chance, an employment law attorney can advise you on how to do it by the book


  4. Yes, unless she has a contract or is represented by a union and then the employer will have to comply with the collective bargaining agreement.

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