North Dakota Termination (with Discharge) laws & HR compliance analysis

North Dakota Termination (with Discharge): What you need to know

North Dakota is an “employment-at-will” state (ND Cent. Code Sec. 34-03-01).
Therefore, an employer may generally terminate an employment relationship at any time and for any reason, unless an agreement or law provides otherwise. There are, however, some important exceptions to at-will employment that have been created by statutes and court rulings.
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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:
Jury duty. Employers may not threaten, discipline, or discharge an employee who has been summoned for jury service, serves as a juror, attends court for prospective jury service, or is summoned or required to testify as a witness (ND Cent. Code Sec. 27-09.1-17).
Off-duty conduct. Under North Dakota law, an employee's off-duty conduct is considered a private matter. As such, it is illegal for employers to discriminate against employees on the basis of their participation in lawful activities on their own time away from the workplace, as long as the activity is not in direct conflict with the essential business-related interests of the employer (ND Cent. Code Sec. 14-02.4-01).
Smoking. Employers are prohibited from discharging, refusing to hire, or retaliating against an employee or applicant because he or she has exercised any rights under the state's smoking law or reported a violation of the law (ND Cent. Code Sec. 23-12-10).
Wage and hour law. It is unlawful to ...

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