Recently, my little town hit the big time. It has been talked about on television and radio, and written about in newspapers and thousands of blogs. Why? Because a local employer fired four employees who would not quit smoking in the privacy of their own homes. How did he know they were smoking when they weren't at work? Random blood tests. This is a pretty extreme case, but it does point to an issue that contractors should know about — specifically, what you can and can't fire people for.

The basic starting place for employment law in this country is that employees have no property interest in their jobs. This means that when an employer wants to fire an employee, he can. The law does not say that the employer has to have a good reason, but the law does say he can't do it for an unlawful reason. Got that?

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