Most employment is labeled as "at-will" in the state of Washington. This means that an employer or employee is free to end the work relationship at any time and leave the employment organization. The only exception to this are reasons that the law has specifically outlined as impermissible to use as a basis for employee termination.
Employment arrangements that do not qualify as "at will" are not subject to the same limitations and restrictions, so it is crucial that you know how your work setup is classified. Arrangements for employment that are under a set term contract are not "at will", and may only be terminated according to the clauses contained in the agreement.
What are the Illegal Grounds for Terminating At Will Employment in Washington?
In a Washington at-will employment, discrimination is the most common illegal ground for terminating an employee. Termination by an employer cannot be done on the basis of race, nationality, gender, or religion. A Seattle employer also is prohibited from terminating at-will employees as a method 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. Lastly, an employer may not fire an employee for refusing to do something illegal, for exercising a legal right, or performing a legal obligation.
Do I Need a Washington Attorney for My Wrongful Termination Case?
In Seattle, Washington, a lawyer will be able to notify you about whether you are a victim of wrongful termination, and they will be able to guide you in gathering the necessary documents. Sometimes there can be procedures that are unique, and a lawyer can guide you in these as well.