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Can I Get Fired for Looking for a Different Job in Kansas City?

Employment Law / October 1, 2021

The employee-employer dynamic is built on trust and a common understanding of expectations. Ideally, the employer provides the income, benefits, and job security to the employee. The employee, in turn, provides the employer with labor and production to meet the company’s goals. Sometimes, the employee wants to explore other options. In doing so, the employee could be putting their current employment status at risk.

In Kansas and Missouri, most employees are classified as at-will employees, which means the employer can terminate their employment for any legal reason (excluding discriminatory reasons) or for no reason at all. Under at-will employment, if employees take steps to secure a new job while being employed at their current job, they could be fired by their employer for that reason alone. If this happens or has happened to you, consider speaking with an experienced employment attorney in Kansas City.

What Is At-Will Employment?

At-will employment is a default employment relationship whereby the employer and employee are both free to end the employment relationship for any legal reason, or for no reason at all, with or without advance notice. Most states consider employees to be employed at-will in the absence of an employment contract or applicable state law that limits the employer’s ability to fire the employee and/or the employee’s ability to quit.

However, most employers are not allowed to terminate at-will employees for a discriminatory reason. Most employees are protected at both the state and federal level from termination because of a discriminatory reason, usually based on one of the following factors:

  • Gender
  • Race
  • Sexual orientation
  • Age
  • Medical condition
  • Religion

In addition to the above discriminatory factors, employers cannot terminate employees for making safety complaints, reporting hostile work environments, or reporting harassment in the workplace.

How Can I Job Search While Employed?

Even if you are an at-will employee, there is no law or policy against keeping your options open. Still, you will want to be smart. When searching for a different job while still employed, keep in mind the following tips:

Do Not Use Your Company Computer or Cell Phone when Searching

It should be self-explanatory, but it is a good idea to search for a different job only on your personal computer or cell phone. While it is tempting, especially considering that job searches now are almost exclusively done online, your employer most likely has ways to track your activities on their company laptops and cell phones. On a related note, make sure that you are job searching on your own time, rather than while on the clock.

Be Mindful of the Interview Process

Even if the early stages of your job search evade your current employer, the closer you get to landing another position means more extensive contact with you and your references. If you can, make sure to spread out interviews so that you are not missing extended time at your current job. Also, be mindful of who you use as a reference, as they may not always have your best interests in mind.

Be Honest about What You Want

If you are unhappy in your current position to the point that you are searching for another job, it may behoove you to make an appeal to your employer to see if there is any way to change your current situation. If your employer is agreeable, you can negotiate a better pay rate, title, or rank. If not, you have already begun the process of looking elsewhere.

Consult with an Experienced Employment Law Attorney at Hollis Law Firm

At Hollis Law Firm, our team is dedicated to fighting for employee rights in Kansas City. Our skilled attorneys will ensure your rights are upheld and keep your best interests at heart. To schedule an initial consultation, contact our skilled employment lawyer at (800) 701-3672 or fill out this form through our website.