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How to Legally Fire an Employee in Costa Rica

by fiverrtech

What are the Legal Grounds for Termination

Understanding the legal framework for terminating an employee in Costa Rica is crucial for every employer. The process must adhere strictly to the Labor Code to ensure fairness and legality. This article provides an essential guide for employers on how to navigate this process.

Termination Without Cause

In this scenario, the Employer simply terminates the employee without any fault by the employee.   This generates liability to the employer who must indemnify the employee by paying them prior notice, severance payment, accumulated Christmas bonus, and vacation pay.

Termination for Cause

This occurs when the worker has committed a serious offense as contemplated in Article 81 of the Labor Code. In these cases, the employer is only required to compensate the worker for the Christmas bonus and vacation time. Costa Rica’s Labor Code outlines specific conditions under which an employee can be legally dismissed. These include:

  • Performance-Related Issues: Poor performance or failure to meet job expectations.
  • Conduct-Related Issues: Violations of company policies or misconduct.
  • Operational Needs: Redundancy due to business restructuring or economic downturns.

In these cases, the employer must have adequate documentation to support the termination.  A worker cannot be dismissed without a justified cause. Furthermore, the worker has the right to know the reasons for their termination.

The Employee Resigns by Mutual Agreement

In this case when the employee resigns and the employer accepts it is a termination by mutual agreement. Both parties agree to terminate the contract with terms that are beneficial and acceptable to both.

Conclusion: Employment Termination Process in Costa Rica

The employment termination process in Costa Rica encompasses different modalities and legal considerations. Both the employer and the worker must be clear about their rights and obligations from the beginning of the employment relationship. It is important to document everything appropriately and respect the provisions of the Labor Code.
Termination with employer liability can be carried out at the will of the employer, as long as the corresponding labor payments are made. On the other hand, termination without employer liability applies in cases of serious faults by the worker, and only the Christmas bonus and vacation time must be paid.
In all cases, it is essential to have supporting documentation and provide the worker with a clear explanation of the reasons for the dismissal.

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