Wrongful Termination in Virginia
What Is Wrongful Termination?
While an employer does have discretion over the hiring and firing of employees, there are certain circumstances where a worker can file for wrongful termination. Termination becomes wrongful when it violates Virginia law, federal law, or an employment agreement. Being fired from a job is never easy. A dedicated wrongful termination lawyer understands your rights as an employee and will fight to protect them.
It is illegal in Virginia for an employer to fire you if the firing vilates federal discrimination laws, such as firing someone on the basis of sex, race, gender, or sexual orientation. However, The Federalist Society states that in 2013, the Virginia Supreme Court made an expansion to these laws, to make it illegal to fire someone if that firing violates Virginia public policy.
Types Of Wrongful Termination
In Virginia, there are many different instances where wrongful termination can take place. In some cases, an employer is ignorant of labor laws and may not even realize they have erred. This is why big corporations rely on human resources experts. You should always turn to an attorney if you suspect wrongful termination. In the following paragraphs are some of the red flags that you should watch out for.
Limitations of At-Will Employment
Because one of the most common forms of employment is at-will, there are limitations to this. At-will employment doesn’t allow an employer to fire a person for any discriminatory reason. Virginia state, federal, or local laws prohibit these reasons.
Virginia Law states that Virginia is an “at-will” employment state. This means your employer can terminate your position at any time, for any reason, so long as the termination does not violate the law. The employer also cannot violate an existing contract, or a collective bargaining agreement.
An employer also can’t fire an employee as a form of retaliation for reporting any illegal activities within the company. Were you fired for any of these reasons? If so, you may be able to file a wrongful termination lawsuit against your employer.
Discrimination is one of the most common forms of wrongful termination. When an employee is fired because of their race, religion, sex, national origin, ethnicity, pregnancy, age, or disability, it violates established laws meant to protect specific personal characteristics. There are also some states that prohibit employers from discriminating based on the gender identity or the sexual orientation of their employees.
If you believe that you have been penalized or fired in Virginia for one of these discriminatory reasons listed above, you may be able to file a claim with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. An experienced Virginia attorney can walk you through the process to help ensure the best possible outcome.
Your employer can’t fire you for certain protected activities. For example, your employer can’t fire you for taking medical leave, or for participating in an investigation of job violations and wage violations. Additionally, filing a complaint with the EEOC, or informing your employer about discrimination or harassment, are not fireable offenses.
Employees in Virginia that exercise their rights in reporting malfeasance receive protections from the Fraud and Abuse Whistleblower Protection Act of Virginia. This means that employees that report violations and illegal activities receive protection from retaliation and retribution by their employers.
There are some states that also prevent employee termination for taking time off to vote, perform jury duties, or serve in the military. You also have some protection if your employer has fired you for reporting a violation of safety laws or environmental regulations.
What To Do If You’ve Been Wrongfully Terminated in Virginia
Are you suffering from wrongful discrimination? You may be entitled to compensatory damages, reinstatement, back pay, and other forms of relief. However, the exact definition of wrongful termination will depend on where you live. To find out, contact a dedicated and qualified wrongful termination lawyer. Discuss your circumstances and the Virginia laws that your employer has to follow in your area.
Remember that there are usually time constraints on how long you can wait to file your claim, so don’t delay. This could cause evidence to slip through your fingers or you may miss the deadline altogether. You want a favorable outcome and so will your lawyer, so try to approach your case as proactively as possible, even before you are certain you have one.
Workplace Fairness states that employees in Virginia have 180 days to file a claim. If this time lapses, you risk going beyond the statute of limitations.
Step One: Gather Evidence
It’s important to start gathering all the evidence you can, no matter how small. Ideally, you had reason to suspect that your employer might terminate you wrongfully and started the process some time before. If you need to return to the office to clear out your desk or still have access to the work email, use the opportunity wisely. However, be mindful of any employment agreements or confidentiality issues.
Step Two: Find an Attorney
Hiring an experienced Virginia wrongful termination lawyer will help you take the first steps so that you make a strong case to get the outcome you seek. Virginia employment laws are intricate and are constantly changing. Therefore, you should always work with an attorney who focuses on this specific area.
Step Three: File a Complaint
If you have not yet had your case reviewed by an attorney, the EEOC built a self-evaluation tool to help you decide if filing a claim with them is an appropriate way to handle your case. An attorney simplifies this part of the process by helping you to write the complaint. You serve your employer notice. Then, the resolution process starts there. Note that not all cases make it to a courtroom as some employers prefer to settle.
If you feel you have been the victim of discrimination, the Virginia Employment Commission strongly urges you to file a complaint. You can file in-person or by mail with your local EEOC Office. You can also file a claim online.
Why You Should Hire A Wrongful Termination Lawyer
Filing a wrongful termination lawsuit in Virginia can be overwhelming, especially if you’ve been treated unfairly by your employer. Speaking to an experienced lawyer can help you to understand what legal rights you have as a victim and if your case is applicable for wrongful termination. For some people, the opportunity to have someone listen helps to ease the burden they’ve been carrying.
We understand that finding the right attorney can be hard. This is why we created our service to connect clients in need with experienced Virginia attorneys. To match with the right lawyer, you simply provide your location, category, and some other additional information. We then send you your options as soon as they are available.
Our company charges no fees to connect you with the legal services you need. Some Virginia attorneys or practice areas may require legal fees upfront, but there are many that do not. Some professionals may not charge a single penny at all until they win your case.
Are you ready to find a qualified Virginia attorney who can help you fight for your job or get justice for the wrongful termination you suffered? We can even help you connect with an attorney across Virginia state lines.
Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!