The majority of employment relationships in Virginia fall into the category of "at-will" employment. This form of setup means that either employer or the employee is free to end the employment at any time they desire. In "at will" employment, the only basic exception is that the reasons for termination must not be illegal or in violation of the law.
Employment that does not fall into the category of "at will" is not subject to the same restrictions. Thus, it is essential that you identify what type of employment arrangement you are involved in. If an employment contract specifying a time for employment is involved for your work agreement, then employment is not "at will", and termination can only be done following the terms of the contract.
What are the Illegal Grounds for Terminating At Will Employment in Virginia?
Regarding terminating a Virginia employee, discrimination is the most common illegal reason. An employer may not fire an employee just because they are of a specific race, religion, gender, or nationality. Arlington County employers are further barred from firing at-will employees in order to retaliate against them for filing a legal discrimination claim or initiating an investigation of discrimination.
Additionally, under the Family and Medical Leave Act, employers may not terminate employees who have taken leave for family reasons or medical treatment. Finally, employees are protected from being terminated by their employer for performing a legal obligation, exercising their legal rights, or for refusing to participate in an illegal act.
Do I Need a Virginia Attorney for My Wrongful Termination Case?
A local Arlington County, Virginia attorney can better inform you about whether a wrongful termination has occurred, and will also help in collecting the appropriate documents for your case. There may also be unique procedures that an attorney can shepherd you through.