Procedures For Terminating the Agreement
There are no specific rules or procedures relating to the termination of an employment agreement unless specified therein or in a collective bargaining agreement.
Employment relationships in Georgia are typically deemed to be “at-will” unless there is a contractual promise by the employer that alters the “at-will” relationship. Employers may terminate an agreement by instant dismissal so long as the dismissal is not discriminatory and does not violate an otherwise enforceable employment agreement.
An employee is free to terminate the employment relationship at any time, with or without notice, so long as such notice does not violate an enforceable employment agreement.
Termination On Notice
There is no minimum period of notice required unless specified in a written employment agreement. Under federal law, workers must be given a 60-day notice before certain plant closings or mass layoffs.
Termination By Reason Of The Employee's Age
No employment terminations may be made on the basis of an employee’s age.
Automatic Termination In Cases Of Force Majeure
An employment agreement may be terminated automatically in cases of force majeure, although such instances are rare.
Federal law requires a 60-day notice prior to plant closings or mass layoffs impacting specific numbers of employees in the event of a collective dismissal. There is no Georgia law requiring advance notice of layoffs; however, the Georgia Department of Labor requires that an employer file a specialized mass layoff report within 24 hours of a mass separation when 25 or more employees separate from an employer on the same day for the same reason. Collective bargaining agreements or the presence of a union may dictate additional requirements.
Termination By Parties’ Agreement
The parties are entirely free to agree to terminate an employment agreement or the employment relationship on any grounds they desire except for discriminatory reasons proscribed by federal or state law. Approval from a court or other regulatory body is not required before an employment termination is effective, but any separation or employment termination agreement between the parties by which the employee releases legal rights will only be binding if the documentation complies with federal and state statutory requirements.
Directors Or Other Senior Officers
In the case of a director, termination of employment does not automatically bring to an end a concurrent directorship. Pursuant to the employer’s articles of incorporation and state law, separate steps are required to bring the directorship to an end.
Special Rules For Categories Of Employee
Upon the termination of employment of any minor between 12 and 16 years of age, Georgia law requires an employer to return the employment certificate to the issuing officer within five days of the date of termination of employment. Other categories of employees (e.g., teachers, attorneys, physicians) are subject to specific state laws in connection with their employment.
Federal law protects whistleblowing employees under various employment and other related statutes. Georgia law prohibits public employers from retaliating against whistleblowing employees.
Specific Rules For Companies in Financial Difficulties
Federal law requires a 60-day notice prior to plant closings or mass layoffs impacting specific numbers of employees in the event of a such action due to financial difficulties. There is no Georgia law requiring advance notice of layoffs; however, the Georgia Department of Labor requires that an employer file a specialized mass layoff report within 24 hours of a mass separation when 25 or more employees separate from an employer on the same day for the same reason. Collective bargaining agreements or the presence of a union may dictate additional requirements.
Special Rules For Garden Leave
Georgia does not have any specific laws addressing garden leave. Employers must comply with Section 409A of the Internal Revenue Code and the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act ("COBRA").
Restricting Future Activities
Courts in Georgia review restrictions on an employee’s future business activities to ensure that they are reasonable, supported by consideration, and are drafted narrowly. Each case is considered on its own facts, so what might be appropriate for one employee may be unreasonable for another.
In Georgia, severance is not required unless an employer has a severance policy or an employee has a written employment agreement providing for severance. There are specific federal and state rules governing the validity of a release provided in exchange for a severance payment.
Special Tax Provisions And Severance Payments
Severance payments are subject to taxation in the normal way.
Allowances Payable To Employees After Termination
Georgia employers are not required to contribute towards any allowances payable to employees after termination, although an unemployment compensation tax may be imposed on an employer if the terminating employee is eligible for unemployment compensation post-termination.
Time Limits For Claims Following Termination
The time limits vary depending on the nature of the claim and whether the claim must be brought before an administrative agency before pursing the claim in federal or state court.