In the absence of a contract or collective bargaining agreement, most employers can fire workers "at will" without having to give cause. Colleen DeBaise, author of "The Wall Street Journal Complete Small Business Guidebook," suggests that to do it right, an employer should meet with the employee privately, refer to documentation that shows unacceptable behavior, allow the employee to respond but be clear that the decision is final and get the worker off the premises right away.

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