Georgia Termination (with Discharge) laws & HR compliance analysis

Georgia Termination (with Discharge): What you need to know

Georgia is an “employment-at-will” state, which means that an employer or employee may generally terminate an employment relationship at any time and for any reason (GA Stat. Sec. 34-7-1).
However, there are exceptions to this doctrine based on federal or state laws, collective bargaining agreements, and employment contracts.
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As a general rule, if a federal, state, or local law grants employees the right to engage in an activity or to enjoy a benefit, employees should never be disciplined, discharged, or otherwise retaliated against for requesting or attempting to do so.
To list a few key examples, state law prohibits employers from discharging employees for engaging in the following activities:
Garnishment/child support. An employer may not discharge an employee because the person has or had his or her earnings garnished for any one indebtedness (GA Code Sec. 18-4-7) or for any child support garnishments (GA Code Sec. 19-6-33).
Judicial proceeding. No worker may be discharged, disciplined, or otherwise penalized for absence from work because of attendance at a judicial proceeding in response to a subpoena, summons for jury duty, or other court order or process (GA Code Sec. 34-1-3).
Whistleblowing. A public employee may not be discharged or otherwise discriminated against for making a complaint or disclosing information to a public employer about fraud, waste, or abuse in or relating to state programs and operations for which the employer is responsible (GA Code Sec. 45-1-4).
An employee claiming wrongful discharge has the burden of proving his or her case. The employee may use circumstantial evidence to satisfy this burden. As a result, it is essential for ...

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