Can You Get Fired Without A Written Warning?

Firing an employee or getting fired is stressful no matter what role you’re in.

Employers must know how to fire an employee professionally, so can you get fired without a written warning?

Is it even legal?

Is Firing an Employee Without Warning Illegal?

Well, not all job changes are voluntary and people get fired every day, with or without reason.
Sometimes employees don’t even get a notice before their termination.

It can happen suddenly, without a sign that the employer has a plan to terminate anyone.

sign a paper

So, you might ask if firing without a warning is even legal. Well, it isn’t considered illegal. Employers aren’t required to give a written warning before termination.

Of course, it depends on the employment contract type you sign. Most employees are under at-will-employment contracts, meaning they can be fired anytime and without reason.

But if the contract states that an employee cannot be fired without a reason, then it is illegal.

However, in some situations, that makes sense. For example, if an employee engages in serious misconduct, he/she can be fired immediately, without warning.

What Does At-Will Employment Mean?

In most states in the United States, employment-at-will has become a standard.

So, what kind of contract is that? It is an employer-employee agreement in which a worker can be terminated for any reason, without any warning and explanation.

at will employment document

It also means that an employee has the right to quit his/her job without any reason or warning.

Employees who sign this kind of contract are informed about contract conditions. Therefore, if an employee is terminated under this kind of agreement, it typically gets denied by the court.

However, the employer usually except from you to leave at least two weeks’ notice about your leave. It seems a bit unfair when your employer can terminate you without notice.

So, we recommend checking with your state department of labor for regulations. Because some contracts outline terms of employment and contain details and terms under which an employee can be fired.

Do You Need To Receive Three Written Warnings Before Dismissal?

It’s a commonly held assumption that you need to receive three warnings before your employer can terminate you.
That rule is a misconception that doesn’t exist in employment law. Some companies have that rule, but that’s their company policy.

Does The Firing Without Warning Show Any Discrimination?

If an employer fire any employee in a way that is discriminatory or violates public policy, that’s illegal. That increases the chances of lawsuits for wrongful termination.


Should I Hire a Lawyer If I’ve Been Fired Without Warning?

There is just one situation when we recommend doing that – If you believe that you were terminated illegally, then consider this lawyer option.

Also, if the employer refuses to give you a reason for termination, maybe he/she cover up some illegal discrimination. If the reason is illegal, hire a lawyer.

Before doing that, check the contract you have with your employer and think if you can prove wrongful termination (learn more about it down below).

Wrongful Termination

If discrimination is involved, if public policy is violated, if an employee is a whistleblower, if the company fails to follow company policy guidelines for termination – these belong to wrongful termination.

Can You Be Fired Without Warning On Probation?

The probationary period is a timeframe when a new employee’s skills and performances are closely monitored. It is necessary to see if the new employee is a good fit for their position. It can last between one to three months, depending on company policy.

This timeframe is often used as grounds for determining whether a employee will remain employed or be fired.

Shortly, an employee can get fired during the probation period. Also, an employer doesn’t have to provide you with a warning before termination.

Warning Signs Of Termination

As you could read in the sections above, your employer can fire you anytime. However, some signals can lead to termination at work. Once you know the signs that could lead to unemployment, you still have a chance to turn things around.

These are the most common signs you’re about to get fired:

  • If the boss isn’t completely satisfied with your work and he/she expressly says that.
  • If you break some of the company rules and get a written warning because of that.
  • rules

  • If you are being excluded from meetings and projects you work on.
  • If you are demoted from your responsibilities and receive less work.
  • If you not meeting the goals and expectations of your role at work.

Things An Employer Should Do When Terminating An Employee

Firing an employee is stressful for both sides, but it can be done professionally and in a more human way. There are some guidelines each employer should follow:

  • Face-to-face Meeting – It is considered unprofessional and inappropriate to terminate the employee by using some of these electronic methods – email, voicemail, over the phone, SMS, etc. Every employee deserves a face-to-face meeting.
  • Terminating Without Warning – Unless an immediate act occurs, an employer should provide his/her employee with some kind of feedback or warning before termination.
  • Include a Witness – In the best interest of both is to include a witness in the meeting. This person can be another employee or HR member (who will confirm that the meeting is conducted professionally).
  • business meeting

  • Keep The Conversation Short – Employers shouldn’t prolong the conversation any longer than it’s necessary. There is no point in explaining every detail, so give short and clear answers.
  • Prepare a Checklist – Create a checklist so you can be sure all appropriate topics are covered. Inform the employee what he/she can expect legally and from your company upon his termination.
  • The Decision Is Final – Your employee must understand that your decision is final and not gonna change. However, treat your employee with kindness and respect. When the meeting starts, explain its purpose to your employee and inform him/her about your decision.
  • End The Meeting On a Positive Note – Wish your employee all the best in his/her career and life and provide him/her with words of encouragement. However, he/she’ll definitely be upset about termination.

Final Verdict

If you suddenly get fired, first you should check the type of employment contract you have with your employer to be sure that your employer has fired you legaly. Know your rights and be aware of the contract conditions you sign with your employer.

Amanda is a writer and product reviewer on the OfficeNeedle site since 2020. She started to gather experience still during her education at Management Studies as a volunteer in many companies. She uses her cognitions she has come to thanks to her interest in design for reviewing the technical equipment, office appliances, and furniture for the office. Her approach is based on consultations with experts, testing products, and detailed researches on which she spends about 70 hours weekly.