Generally, a prospective employee
is evaluated for employment through the use of the
job interview in hopes of being hired.
In the U.S. employers are
forbidden to discriminate against job applicants on
the basis of gender, race, age or
Employment laws make such
discrimination an illegal practice in the hiring of
employees. The asking of questions of a
prospective employee directly about these areas
constitutes an illegal hiring practice.
In the U.S. employees are
typically hired under an "at-will" contract.
This allows either the employee or the employer to
terminate the employment or fire the employee at any time for any reason
whatsoever. In recent years employers have
seen their rights to terminate employment without
cause attacked by the courts.
Employers are finding that firing
an employee can be an expensive and risky procedure
requiring extensive documentation in the event that
the employee challenges the dismissal. Fired
employees can be more easily convinced to provide
competitors with trade secrets or to expose illegal
practices going on at the company. Also, the
former employer is required to finance any
unemployment benefits that may be awarded to the
fired or laid off worker.
The most severe form of employee
termination is "firing" the employee. A less
sever form of termination occurs when a company is
forced to downsize or experiences a slowing of the
business and an employee is "laid off" with a
possible expectation that the employee could be
re-hired when business picks up again. Lay
offs of large numbers of employees occurs in the
U.S. with regularity as companies re-size and
otherwise struggle to compete.
Other Types of Termination:
To avoid some of the repercussions of firing an
employee, an employee about to be fired may be asked
to submit his or her resignation. This method
of firing is often used when dealing with a
high-profile employee such as a manager, executive,
officer or other highly positioned employee.
By allowing the employee to offer a resignation the
company reduces the risk involved with an outright
firing and may avoid the appearance of a ruthless or
hostile employer. The benefits to the employee
to resign rather than be fired includes the saving
of face for the employee and the better prospects to
obtain another job by not having to admit to being
fired to new prospective employer.
Sometimes an employer may wish an employee to quit
but doesn't want to resort to a firing or a forced
resignation. In these cases the employer may
lower the employees responsibilities or working
conditions in hopes that the employee will leave
voluntarily. The employee could be transferred
to an undesirable geographical area, assigned menial
tasks, given fewer working hours, demoted or asked
to work an undesirable shift. The employee
might also be subjected to unfair punishment for
things that are overlooked with other employees.
Many employees subjected to such conditions will
find other work where opportunities appear more
promising and management doesn't seem to "have it
out" for the employee.
An employee may be terminated as a result of the
down sizing of a companies work force. Such
terminations are known as layoffs or furloughs.
Companies are constantly evaluating their need for
more or fewer employees in light of production
demands and instead of hiring more employees may
decide it has too many employees for current
conditions. While many companies will try to
transfer or find other jobs for employees scheduled
for layoff this is not always possible and the
laying off of employees may be the only solution to
a company's down sizing. In some cases, the
employee may regain his or her job when conditions
permit the company to add more employees.
Hiring and firing can be a slippery slope for
employers with the many pitfalls