One complaint that employees have when they’re fired is that they didn’t even know they were doing anything to warrant the firing. If they had been given a warning, they argue, they could have changed their behavior. They feel that the firing is unfair.
Some companies use a three-strikes policy to combat this, which may be included in an employee handbook. It essentially guarantees that the employee will get two warnings without being terminated. If there is no improvement, then they can be fired the third time. Do you have to do this, or can you just fire them outright?
There is No Requirement to Provide Warnings, but there are Exceptions
In Alaska, you generally have no legal requirement to warn workers or give them any number of strikes. Under at-will employment laws, you can fire someone without giving them a chance to change their behavior. You’re not obligated to help them improve as an employee. You can just terminate them.
There are exceptions, though. The law may not require warnings, but it does require you to adhere to any policies that you have set up. If you tell an employee that they get two strikes and then fire them on the first strike, they may be able to sue for wrongful termination. If you don’t give them that policy, they may still think it’s unfair, but they don’t have the grounds to sue.
You never want to make any mistakes and violate your employees’ rights. If you end up in a dispute or a legal case with a former employee, be sure you know what legal options you have. An attorney can provide valuable guidance.