Richmond Wrongful Termination Lawyer
Virginia is an at-will employment state, which means an employer reserves the right to terminate an employee at any point and for any reason, and does not have to give cause. However, there are situations in which termination is considered wrongful.
If you believe you have been wrongfully terminated in Virginia, or have questions about your rights as an employee, reach out to our experienced Richmond wrongful termination lawyers to schedule a confidential consultation.
What Is Wrongful Termination?
A wrongful termination suit refers to an employee’s claim that their employer breached an employment contract or a public employment law in terminating their employment. In order for a termination to be considered “wrongful,” it must be a breach of an employment contract between the employee and the employer, or it must be in violation of law.
When is an Employee’s Termination in Violation of Law?
The termination of an employee’s status is not lawful if it is discriminatory in nature or if it is in retaliation to an employee exercising one of their protected rights. Examples of protected employee rights include:
- Filing a workers’ compensation claim;
- Filing a discrimination claim;
- Taking leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA);
- Filing a wage and hour complaint;
- Filing a workplace safety complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA); or
- Reporting any unlawful employee behaviors.
An employer also cannot fire an employee for failing to violate a public policy, such as for refusing to commit a crime.
Virginia At-Will Employment Laws
It is important to note that merely terminating an employee’s status as an employee does not in itself constitute wrongful termination. Virginia is an at-will employment state, which means an employer reserves the right to terminate an employee at any point and for any reason, and does not have to give cause.
Penalties for Wrongful Termination in Virginia
If an employee has a valid wrongful termination suit and the employer is found to be guilty of wrongful termination, the employer may be subject to penalties and the employee to recompense, including reinstatement to the original position, back pay for lost wages, and back pay for lost benefits.
Work with a Richmond Wrongful Termination Lawyer
Understanding the laws surrounding an employer’s right to terminate an employee and an employee’s right to work can be confusing. All of the Virginia employment attorneys in the Labor and Employment division of Pierce / Jewett can assist you in navigating the law and understanding your rights and options. Contact our law office today at 804-502-2320 to request a consultation and learn more.