As a responsible employee, it can be extremely difficult to cope with being fired, especially if you feel that you have been unjustly terminated or that your rights have been violated.
Navigating wrongful employment law can be tough, especially if you are not familiar with the process or have insufficient information or documentation. An experienced employment law attorney can help guide you through the process of seeking justice for wrongful termination.
At the Law Office of Scott S. Ives, we ensure that the rights of those that have been terminated or threatened have not been violated. From challenging your workplace termination to ensuring you receive the compensation and legal benefits that you are entitled to, we work hard to get justice for your wrongful termination.
Employment Law In Virginia
Virginia is an “at-will” employment state, like most others in the United States, which means that both employee and employer can end the employment relationship at any point, for any reason.
Because Virginia is an “at-will” employment state, it can be difficult to challenge a termination. Successfully challenging a termination is almost impossible without the help of a knowledgeable employment law attorney, which is why consulting an attorney is so important.
The exception to “at-will” employment in Virginia is in the case of being asked to perform illegal acts as part of employment, being fired as the results of exercising an employee’s rights, or if an employer violated public policy expressed in a state law–such as firing an employee as an act of discrimination or in retaliation to whistleblowing.
Although many individuals that have been fired or let go from their jobs may feel that they have been unjustly fired, there is a very specific definition of what is considered wrongful termination.
Wrongful termination is when an employee is fired for an illegal reason, including violation of federal anti-discrimination laws, contractual breach, or as retaliation for an employee’s legally protected actions.
There are a few different situations that can be considered wrongful termination, including:
- Discrimination & Sexual Harassment
- Exercising Employee Rights
- Expectation To Perform Illegal Acts
If you have been fired as a direct result one of these situations, you may be on the receiving end of wrongful termination and have a case against your former employer.
Firing As A Form Of Retaliation
Many employees find themselves in a situation where speaking out against their employer for illegal practices leads to their termination, which is considered an act of retaliation.
If you were fired following a report of discrimination, harassment, for whistleblowing, or for filing a claim in accordance with the Worker’s Compensation Act, it could be a sign of workplace retaliation which is one of the situations that constitute wrongful termination.
Here are some examples of workplace retaliation:
- Firing an employee
- Threatening an employee
- Denying an employee a deserved promotion
- Engaging in discrimination
- Pay cuts
- Baseless negative evaluations
- Transitioning an employee to a less favorable position
For instance, firing an employee after they have engaged in whistleblowing (exposing illegal practices or information within an organization) is considered retaliation and is a basis for a case of wrongful termination.
The Virginia Fraud and Abuse and Whistleblower Protection Act protects employees who “blow the whistle” against government agencies. The Whistleblower Protection Act also shields also employees from retaliation at the federal level.
Likewise, if you have recently brought up an instance of discrimination within your place of employment, whether against yourself, as a general practice, or against someone else, and have been fired as a direct result, this is considered wrongful termination since it is a form of retaliation for pointing out or raising the question of discrimination in the workplace.
You may have been wrongfully terminated if you were fired for discriminatory reasons–such as your race, sex, national origin, religious beliefs, age, disability, participation in the military, pregnancy, or other protected status.
Many businesses and organizations have statements that declare they are and equal opportunity employer and list out the different statuses they do not discriminate against or consider on the basis of hiring or promoting an employee, many of which go above and beyond the legally required protected classes.
However, if one of these legally protected statuses is used for the basis of discrimination against an employee to fire them, the termination is considered wrongful.
The Virginia Human Rights Act (Virginia Code § 2.2-3901) protects employees against conduct that violates any Virginia, federal statute, or regulation governing discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, age, marital status, or disability.
If you have experienced sexual harassment or been made to feel uncomfortable at your workplace due to inappropriate comments or sexual advances, this is a form of workplace sexual harassment.
If you have been fired after turning down sexual advances, reporting harassment, or rebuking inappropriate comments or actions, your termination is related to workplace sexual harassment and is a basis for wrongful termination.
The Law Office of Scott S. Ives can help you determine if your termination was done on the basis of discriminatory practices or as the result of sexual harassment and if so, can help you put together a case for wrongful termination.
Fired For Exercising Employee Rights
Every employee in the United States, and in the state of Virginia has certain rights, whether they are an entry-level employee making minimum wage, trade union worker, or corporate executive.
In each of these situations the employee has a set of rights that all employees in Virginia are entitled to, along with rights for their specific position of employment.
If you believe that you have been terminated as a direct result of exercising your rights as an employee, you may have a case for wrongful termination.
Expectation To Perform Illegal Acts
When an employer fires and employee as a result of their refusal to perform illegal acts as a part of their job, the termination is considered wrongful and an act of retaliation. An employee cannot be legally termination for refusing to commit a crime.
The most difficult part of being fired for refusing to perform an unethical or questionable act, is that in many cases you may not know whether the action in questions is illegal or could affect your employment. Many practices exist in a gray state that leaves employees questioning their own actions as well those of their employers.
If you are having doubts about whether you have been fired for refusing to perform illegal acts, or if you are currently being asked to perform acts that you think may be illegal as a part of your employment, it’s best to seek out the professional advice of an employment attorney.
Other Workplace Termination Issues
In addition to wrongful termination based on retaliation, discrimination, and the expectation to perform illegal acts, there are other common workplace situations that employees may feel they need legal representation and advice to properly deal with.
If you are facing any workplace situations that involve your wages, benefits, or employment status, reach out to the Law Office of Scott Ives to get expert legal representation and advice.
Unenforceable Non-Compete Agreements
Many businesses attempt to prevent their employees from sharing proprietary knowledge or practices after they have resigned or been terminated from their positions.
However, these sorts of agreements are very difficult to enforce in the state of Virginia.
If you have been asked to sign a non-compete agreement with your current or former employer and you are concerned about the implications of finding or being hired to your next job, contact the expert employment attorneys at the Law Office Of Scott Ives.
We can review any non-compete agreements, provide advice on the signing and content of these types of agreements, and guide you on what to expect when dealing with your former or current employer.
Unpaid Wages & Benefits
If you have been fired from your place of work and not received the wages or benefits that you legally earned while working as an employee, you are entitled to those unpaid wages.
Wage theft is a prevalent employment issue, and many hourly employees that have been robbed of their earned wages do not take action to get the compensation that they have earned and deserve.
Additionally, many terminated employees are left waiting for their final paychecks or employment benefits and never receive them or do not get the proper amount.
The Law Office of Scott Ives can help you get the compensation that you deserve, including unpaid wages and employment benefits.
The Law Office of Scott Ives can help represent and advise you through the investigative process.
If you are currently under investigation at your place of work or involved in a legal dispute with your current or former employer, hire the best to handle your case.
We represent private and public sector employees in Virginia who have become subject to internal or administrative workplace investigations and disputes. Don’t let your workplace take advantage of you. Hire an attorney to represent your best interests and ensure fair treatment in workplace investigations and disputes.
Reduction or Increase In Hours
Many hourly employees may face a reduction of hours or significant schedule changes that effectively relieve them of their livelihood.
In some cases, the significant reduction of workplace hours can constitute an effective dismissal and open the employee up to filing for unemployment benefits.
Many employees feel left in “limbo” of sorts when they have hours reduced but feel they are ineligible for unemployment benefits or worry about accepting another position. Get expert advice regarding your employment situation.
If you are facing a severe reduction of hours as a non-salaried employee, or are facing an increase of working hours that you believe in not in accordance with your employment agreement, contact the Law Office of Scott Ives to discuss your employment and unemployment benefit filing options.
Unemployment Benefits & Severance
If you have been fired from your place of employment and attempted to file for unemployment and been refused, you may have a case against your former employer or still be entitled to unemployment benefits.
Our law firm has extensive experience representing both unemployment benefits hearings before the Virginia Employment Commission.
If you believe you are ready to leave your current place of employment or have been fired, we can also help negotiate a fair severance agreement to benefit you.
Contact An Employment Lawyer
The experienced employment lawyers at the Law Office of Scott S. Ives can help you go over employment documents and represent your best interests.
Get the compensation and justice that you deserve. Ensure that you receive the full benefits and payment for wrongful termination.
Protect and enforce your rights as an employee. If you believe that you have been fired illegally and need a Virginia employment law consultation, contact us to schedule a free initial review of your case. Our Virginia employment attorneys are knowledgeable, experienced, and ready to help you. Call 703-444-6600 today or schedule a free consultation online.