United States: Employment & Labour Law

This country-specific Q&A provides an overview to Employment & Labour Law laws and regulations that may occur in United States.

  1. Does an employer need a reason in order to lawfully terminate an employment relationship? If so, describe what reasons are lawful?

  2. What, if any, additional considerations apply if large numbers of dismissals (redundancies) are planned?

  3. What, if any, additional considerations apply if a worker’s employment is terminated in the context of a business sale?

  4. What, if any, is the minimum notice period to terminate employment?

  5. Is it possible to pay monies out to a worker to end the employment relationship instead of giving notice?

  6. Can an employer require a worker to be on garden leave, that is, continue to employ and pay a worker during his notice period but require him to say at home and not participate in any work?

  7. Does an employer have to follow a prescribed procedure to achieve an effective termination of the employment relationship? If yes, describe the requirements of that procedure or procedures.

  8. If the employer does not follow any prescribed procedure as described in response to question 7, what are the consequences for the employer?

  9. How, if at all, are collective agreements relevant to the termination of employment?

  10. Does the employer have to obtain the permission of or inform a third party (eg local labour authorities or court) before being able to validly terminate the employment relationship? If yes, what are the sanctions for breach of this requirement?

  11. What protection from discrimination or harassment are workers entitled to in respect of the termination of employment?

  12. What are the possible consequences for the employer if a worker has suffered discrimination or harassment in the context of termination of employment?

  13. Are any categories of worker (for example, fixed-term workers or workers on family leave) entitled to specific protection, other than protection from discrimination or harassment, on the termination of employment?

  14. Are workers who have made disclosures in the public interest (whistleblowers) entitled to any special protection from termination of employment?

  15. What financial compensation is required under law or custom to terminate the employment relationship? How do employers usually decide how much compensation is to be paid?

  16. Can an employer reach agreement with a worker on the termination of employment in which the employee validly waives his rights in return for a payment? If yes, describe any limitations that apply.

  17. Is it possible to restrict a worker from working for competitors after the termination of employment? If yes, describe any relevant requirements or limitations.

  18. Can an employer require a worker to keep information relating to the employer confidential after the termination of employment?

  19. Are employers obliged to provide references to new employers if these are requested?

  20. What, in your opinion, are the most common difficulties faced by employers when terminating employment and how do you consider employers can mitigate these?

  21. Are any legal changes planned that are likely to impact on the way employers approach termination of employment? If so, please describe what impact you foresee from such changes and how employers can prepare for them?