I recall some time ago finding information that an employer firing an employee at the end of their workday was considered illegal. Discussing my recent termination with a friend, that was the first thing they brought up. They used to be a manager in this state, though it was many years ago.

I can't find anything besides two Yahoo Answers talking about it, and it seems to be some people chiming in with 1-liners of their interpretation, of which the answer conflict with each other.

In Georgia (USA), is it illegal to knowingly let an employee work a full day of work, only to terminate them at the end of the day?

Does change if they are getting fired or laid off? I think technically I was laid off, but I don't see much of a distinction.

  • 1
    Why would it be? What would your prefer they did? Commented Apr 12, 2019 at 17:18

2 Answers 2


One can be fired at any moment that the employer chooses, unless there is a contract that provides otherwise. (Some employment contracts specify a notice period.) But if the firing is at the end of a shift or of a work day, that shift's/day's wages would be included in the amount owing to the employee.

"Fired" usually refers to ending employment for misconduct or failure to perform, or at least for an individual reason. "Laid off" usually means that the employer does not have enough work, but does not imply any failing by the employee, and may imply an intention to re-hire the employee if business improves. The difference may matter when making an unemployment claim, and when applying for a new job. But in both cases the job has ended.

  • Layoffs may require advance notice, by the WARN act and similar state requirements, but firings do not.
    – user71659
    Commented Apr 13, 2019 at 0:00
  • @user71659 True, but many lawoffs are not "mass layoffs" as defined in the act. Commented Apr 13, 2019 at 0:02

Georgia practices "at-will" employment, which means an employer can terminate employment at any time, for any reason or no reason, so long as that reason doesn't violate other federal or state laws (e.g. because of race, age, disability, etc.), and as long as there is not an employment contract granting additional rights.

There is no restriction on when a person otherwise lawfully terminated can be dismissed, but the employee must be paid for time worked.


Title 34, Official Code of Georgia, Annotated

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