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. In general, employment that is subject to a set period employment contract is not considered to be "at will", and termination may only happen in accordance with procedures outlined in the contract.
What are the Illegal Grounds for Terminating At Will Employment in Virginia?
The most common illegal ground for terminating a Virginia employee is discrimination. An employer cannot terminate an employee simply for being of a particular race, nationality, religion or gender. A Buena Vista employer also is prohibited from terminating at-will employees as a form of retaliation if the worker has sought an investigation into discrimination or has filed a legal claim for discrimination against the employer.
Furthermore, 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 Buena Vista, 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.