Losing a job in Virginia can cause a litany of problems financially, professionally and personally. The person must be aware of what steps to take if they believe there was a legal violation. Based on at-will employment, employers do have the ability to dismiss a worker if they choose to do so. Understanding what constitutes a violation and what is legal is key.
In certain instances a worker may be protected from wrongful termination. If the worker had a contract, it could be breach of contract if the employee was terminated. If there is a union and a collective bargaining agreement, the employer will generally need cause to fire a worker. Some workplaces have manuals and policies. This could be construed as a contract, but it generally does not protect a worker from termination.
Employers cannot discriminate against workers when terminating them. For workplaces with between 6 and 15 employees, Virginia law says that employers cannot terminate workers due to their religion, if they are disabled, if a woman becomes pregnant, or if a work is of a certain race, specific gender, national origin or skin color. Employers cannot retaliate against employees by firing them. If, for example, a worker reports workplace safety issues, the employer is not legally allowed to dismiss that employee because of it.
Finally, Virginia grants some workers protection based on public policies. These laws shield workers due to property rights, safety and health. Examples of what would be protected include being called for jury duty or not taking part in illegal behaviors. When workers are fired, it is wise to understand whether there is justification to file a wrongful termination lawsuit. These facts about employment law may be confusing, so a legal firm experienced in these cases might help.