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Can prior good reviews protect you from termination in Idaho?

On Behalf of | Apr 15, 2024 | Employment Law

Many workplaces conduct performance reviews to assess employee contributions and identify areas for improvement. Employees who consistently receive positive feedback might feel secure in their jobs.

But what happens if you’re unexpectedly fired despite a history of good reviews? In Idaho, an “at-will” employment state, the answer depends on the specific circumstances.

What is at-will employment?

The Gem State adheres to at-will employment, meaning both employers and employees generally have the freedom to terminate the employment relationship at any time, with or without cause. This provides flexibility for companies to make staffing changes but can also create uncertainty for workers. However, there are exceptions to at-will employment.

Exceptions to at-will employment

Even in an at-will state, certain situations can make termination illegal. Federal and state laws prohibit termination based on protected characteristics like race, religion, gender, age or disability. You might want to explore legal action if you suspect your termination is linked to discrimination.

Employers cannot fire you for exercising legal rights, such as filing a wage claim or reporting safety violations. Moreover, your employer must follow the guidelines if you have an employment contract specifying termination procedures.

Prior performance reviews and wrongful termination

While positive performance reviews can’t guarantee job security, they can be valuable evidence in a wrongful termination claim. A consistent record of good reviews followed by sudden termination might raise questions about the legitimacy of the employer’s justification.

Furthermore, if you haven’t received documented warnings or a performance improvement plan (PIP) before termination, it weakens the employer’s case of poor performance. Please note that if your job duties significantly change without clear communication, it could be difficult for the employer to argue that you weren’t meeting expectations.

Prior positive performance reviews can be helpful, but they don’t guarantee protection from termination in Idaho’s at-will employment environment. Understanding your rights and taking legal action if you believe your termination was wrongful, however, are both important efforts that are protected under state law.