Since Indiana is an at-will employment state, employers can terminate employees for any legal reason and at any time. However, the termination of an employment contract does not always mean that an employee was “fired.”
What is the difference between being fired and being terminated?
Under employment law, termination of employment means that a person’s job with a company has ended. A termination can happen for many reasons including because an employee was fired. Getting fired means that employment was terminated because of poor work performance, unethical or illegal behavior or a bad attitude.
Other reasons employment may be terminated
Employment may be terminated for a number of different reasons other than being fired. There is voluntary termination, in other words, when you quit your job because you want to. There is also constructive dismissal, when you leave your job because you have no other choice. Your employment may also be terminated due to layoffs.
Illegal termination of employment
Employers are not allowed to terminate employees for unlawful reasons. For example, an employer that terminates an employee because the employee is disabled would be guilty of illegal employment discrimination. Employees are also protected from illegal termination that is based on age, race or gender discrimination.
Illegal termination may also occur when an employer terminates employees that refuse to break the law. For example, employees that object to illegal company conduct and report it to authorities cannot be fired for these actions. Employees are also protected from termination that is based on their legal right to take a leave of absence. If an employee refuses to work beyond the hours that were specified in their contract, the employee cannot be terminated for this refusal.