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 point and leave the employment organization. The only exception to this are reasons that the law has particularly 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 essential that you know how your work setup is classified. 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 Washington?
The most common illegal ground for terminating a Washington employee is discrimination. An employer cannot terminate an employee simply for being of a specific race, nationality, religion or gender. Whatcom 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, employers are prohibited by the Family and Medical Leave act from firing those employees who take leave in order to address family or medical concerns. 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 Washington Attorney for My Wrongful Termination Case?
Local Whatcom County, Washington lawyers can thoroughly inform you regarding whether a wrongful termination has in fact occurred. They can also help you gather the necessary documents for your case, and can guide you through any procedures that may be unique or unfamiliar.