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erminate an employee in Utah without cause

Can an Employer Terminate an Employee in Utah Without Cause?

Employers in Utah have great leeway to terminate employees. Utah is an “at-will” state, which means employees can be fired with or without a reason. That discretion does not come without limits, however. Utah also has a number of anti-discrimination laws employers must follow, making them vulnerable to legal action from terminated employees if they fail to act in a non-discriminatory manner.

Federal and State Discrimination Laws

Utah employers are obligated to follow both federal and state anti-discrimination laws, all of which are enforced by Utah authorities under a state agreement. Before a company can terminate an employee in Utah without cause, it must look closely at relevant legislation. Specifically, that legislation includes:
  • Utah Antidiscrimination Act
  • Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act
  • Americans With Disabilities Act
Collectively, these laws place limits on the activities of employers in order to protect employees from unfair treatment. When it comes to terminating an employee in Utah without cause, an employer must act in a way that does not violate anti-discrimination laws, even though Utah is an “at-will” state. Protected grounds include:
  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Age (over 40)
  • National origin
  • Disability
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender identity
  • Pregnancy
  • Childbirth
  • Pregnancy-related conditions
In addition to these grounds, employers cannot terminate an employee in Utah without cause, or discipline an employee, because of religious, personal or political belief expressed outside the workplace. Employees also have the right to express these beliefs “reasonably” while they are at work, even if they conflict with the employer’s own views.

Policies and Training for Employers

For employers, it may not be enough to simply put into writing that your workplace follows all applicable laws and does not discriminate on the basis of protected grounds. As you can imagine, many of these situations become very complicated, and well-meaning individuals on both sides can end up in a conflict they did not anticipate.
The Utah Antidiscrimination and Labor Division offers free training programs for employers to understand and identify workplace discrimination. It is best to look into these programs when things are going well, in order to prevent an unfortunate incident. Employers have the ability to terminate an employee in Utah without cause, but they must pay close attention to their activities while doing so.

Legal Assistance for Utah Employment

Employers in Utah value the discretion to hire and fire individuals. This freedom is part of what they need to run a successful business. However, sometimes business owners run into trouble with discrimination laws they did not understand or even knew existed.
It is best to get legal advice from a Utah employment lawyer as soon as possible in order to properly manage the workforce. Johnstun Law provides local, knowledgeable legal services in Utah employment cases. Our law firm offers a layer of protection for employers who want to have ethical and legal hiring and firing policies and procedures.

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