If your boss decides to fire you, do they have to warn you first? Do they have to give you notice in advance so that you can plan for the future, or do they have to warn you about behavior that may get you fired so that you can make changes?
While that may seem like the logical chain of events, the reality is that most workers don’t need any sort of warning. Legally speaking, employers are not obligated to give them advance notice or to tell them how to change so that they can keep their jobs. Your boss can likely just walk into your office and tell you to clean our your desk, and you have to do it.
The reason for this is something known as at-will employment. It just means that most employees do not actually have contracts. They are free to quit at any time, and their employers are free to fire them. The two can work together for as long as they want and stop working together whenever they want.
The obvious exception to this is if you signed a contract since your employer then has to abide by its terms. The same is true if the company has policies in place — like a three-strikes system — that go beyond their legal obligations. The company then has to follow its own policies or the contractual language, or it can become a wrongful termination even in an at-will state.
Do you think you were fired illegally? This is a frustrating time, and you need to know your rights.