Ask HR: When I terminate is a reason required?

Dear HR,askHR

Can I simply tell a problem employee that their services are no longer needed? Or should call it a lay off? Since Oregon is ‘At Will’, I really don’t want to give a reason because I’m afraid I might get sued.


HR Answer:

Yes Oregon is an ‘At Will’ employment state, which means an employer or employee may terminate the employment relationship at any time without giving a reason. Although it is tempting to take the easy way and tell your employee their services are no longer needed, just remember that even at-will employers can still be sued for a variety of reasons. A best practice to address performance issues, ensure you have clear policies in place, and counsel employees not performing to your standards. Managing performance is a way for you to demonstrate fairness and keep your problem employees on track. Then when it’s time to terminate, your employee is well aware of the reason because you put them on notice that their job was in jeopardy. If you would like assistance with performance management or reviewing your policies, please feel free to contact us.