As an employer, you certainly have the option to offer your employees contracts if you would like to do so. Providing a contact means that you can only fire that employee based on the regulations that the contract provides. For instance, it may say that the employee has to be fired only for cause or that employees are guaranteed three warnings before they will be terminated.
Generally, though, employees do not have contracts. Does this mean that they fall under at-will employment laws? If so, what does this mean for your company?
Missouri does use at-will employment laws
It is important to note that Missouri does use at-will employment laws, as do most other states. Most employees will fall under these laws if they do not have a contract.
What this means for you, as an employer, is that you can fire employees whenever you wish. They can also quit at will. You are not obligated to give them any warning or even provide a reason for the firing.
Now, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, you may not need a reason to fire someone, but you still cannot do so on an illegal basis, such as because of their race. You also must follow any policies that you have in the workplace, such as offering employees warnings in advance of a firing, if they are given those policies in advance. At-will laws do not remove this obligation.
Responding to allegations of wrongdoing
If your company has been accused of violating an employee’s rights in any way, make sure you know what legal steps to take as you respond to best protect your business and your brand’s reputation. A proactive approach is usually best.