What Laws Govern Employee Terminations?

What Laws Govern Employee Terminations?

Federal laws governing employee terminations cover topics such as health care and unemployment benefits, discrimination and the employee's final paycheck, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Other areas covered include veterans' reemployment rights, severance pay, layoffs and plant closures.

A worker whose employment is terminated may qualify for unemployment benefits if the termination was not as a result of the employee's wrongdoing. Fault in such cases is established by state law, notes the U.S. Department of Labor.

Discrimination in the workplace is prohibited under federal law, and that covers employment termination as well, explains the DOL. As of 2015, federally protected classes include color, age, race, sex and ethnicity/national origin. Additional protected classes include religion, veteran status and those who are disabled. Federal law also prohibits the retaliatory termination of whistleblowers.

Federal law mandates that employers rehire employees who leave work for the purpose of fulfilling military duties. The employee's military leave is not a valid reason for terminating employment, states the DOL. All active and reserve branches of the military are covered under the law.

A business with 100 or more employees is required to give advance notice to its employees a minimum of 60 calendar days prior to the closure of a plant or mass layoffs that impact 50 or more employees. Some exceptions are made, including natural disasters and unforeseeable business circumstances,

indicates the DOL.