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Discipline and termination

State procedures Are there state-specific laws on the procedures employers must follow with regard to discipline and grievance procedures? No.

At-will or notice At-will status and/or notice period? Georgia is an at-will employment state. In the absence of a contract specifying a particular duration for employment or a notice period for termination, Georgia law presumes an at-will employment relationship, terminable without any required notice.

What restrictions apply to the above? For private sector employment, Georgia courts have repeatedly rejected the creation of non-statutory exceptions to the at-will doctrine (e.g., Balmer v. Elan Corp., 261 Ga. App. 543, 544-45, 583 S.E.2d 131 (2003), judgment aff'd, 278 Ga. 227, 599 S.E.2d 158 (2004)). Thus, for example, an employer may not terminate an employee because of:

  • age;
  • disability, unless otherwise permitted by relevant statutes;
  • absence due to attendance at a judicial proceeding under court order or a form of process; or
  • activities related to Georgia’s gender-based equal pay protections.

The Georgia General Assembly codified these exceptions to the at-will doctrine in their respective statutes.

Final paychecks Are there state-specific rules on when final paychecks are due after termination? Georgia law contains no express provisions governing when an employer must pay an employee’s final wages; however, it is advisable to do so by the next regular payday after the separation. 

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