Virginia is an “employment-at-will” state. This means that Virginia employers are able to fire any employee for any reason, or no reason at all lawfully. This may make a wrongful termination suit difficult. However, an employer of course cannot fire an employee for illegal reasons. It is still illegal to fire an employee on the basis of their race, gender, or other protected classes. In addition, under the Virginia’s new whistleblower law, effective July 1, 2020, it is also unlawful for an employer to fire an employee for reporting violations or suspected violations of the law.
What is considered wrongful termination?
If you believe you were fired due to discrimination or retaliation, it may be considered wrongful termination. This can be due to multiple factors, such as the following:
- All factors or traits protected under the Civil Rights Act
- Gender identity
- Sexual orientation
- Military service
- National origin
- Childbirth or related medical condition
- Genetic information
- Asking for leave related to a disability or the FMLA
- Reporting violations or suspected violations of law in the workplace
What to Do If You Believe Your Position Was Wrongfully Terminated
If you have not received a reason for your termination, you should ask for a written statement regarding the reasoning for your termination. From there, it is important to preserve your rights. Under the law, you have certain timeframes in which you must act to bring a claim against your employer. For example, if you believe you have been discriminated against, you must file a charge with the Virginia Office of Civil Rights or the EEOC within either 180 days or 300 days. In other situations, such as being retaliated against as a whistleblower, you may be able to bring you claims directly in court. Each law is different, and it is important to understand what steps must be taken to preserve your claims.
Contact an experienced Chesterfield County employment attorney
If you need a Chesterfield County employment attorney who has experience with wrongful termination cases, please reach out to our firm. Contact Passero Employment Law today to schedule your initial consultation.