When it comes to claiming just cause in a business, typically a violation of some type of work-related rule must occur. The violation may be related to the work efficiency of an employee, conduct of an individual or the non-use of safety procedures.
To assign just cause, the supervisor must take appropriate steps to investigate the situation and to determine the facts in the situation. Evidence of the individual’s actions may or may not be required.
Management must previously establish guidelines for obtaining just cause and for acting on it. This includes steps taken to investigate facts, a warning system, and, as necessary, termination of the individual from the position. By taking these steps, the employer reduces the liability associated with the termination of an employee who fails to meet the previously agreed upon goals of the position.
It is beneficial for all businesses to establish clear guidelines by developing a comprehensive employee manual, which includes information about terms of employment and corporate rules for suspension and termination. This should also include information about what to expect in the disciplinary process. By putting this in writing, the employee manual becomes a written contract with employees, which in a just cause scenario can provide burden of proof for the employer.
If an employee violates the employment rules or puts your business, another employee, or customer in danger, then you have just cause to discipline and terminate them if needed. While many states offer protection for employers under right-to-work laws, having the ability to prove just cause can reduce the chance of a wrongful termination lawsuit.