A Termination For Cause occurs when an employee is found to be guilty of misconduct, where the misconduct is repeated, and the company has done everything it can to fix the problem – and failed. Therefore, termination for cause is typically reserved for the “worst offenders” in the workplace.
It is extremely difficult for a business or company to fire an employee “for cause”. In order to do so, the company would have to build a case, and prove the following:
- that the employee engaged in severe misconduct
- that the misconduct was serious and worthy of termination
- that termination was the only option available to the employer
In our experience, a vast majority of employers inappropriately proceed to a termination for cause without first taking the proper steps.
It is very difficult to terminate for cause based on performance issues. An employer would have to establish that the employee performed their duties poorly on purpose in order for a termination for cause to hold up.
The longer you have been with a business, the more difficult it is for an employer to establish a termination for cause. If you have served for a long period of time, it suggests that you are a good employee, and likely not deserving of a for cause termination.
It all depends on the type of misconduct that is being alleged. A general rule of thumb suggests that an employee should be disciplined at least three times (a few warnings and a suspension) before being terminated. A more serious type of misconduct would require fewer warnings or instances of disciplinary action.
These warning should be issued in writing by your employer, to serve as proof of the disciplinary action.
Somebody who is legitimately terminated for cause is not owed any severance pay. But most people are not correctly fired for cause! This means that their employment was actually terminated without cause, and full severance pay is owed.