Learning about wrongful dismissals is important for workers recently terminated. Workers wrongfully terminated from jobs have options for seeking monetary reparations through the legal system. Wrongful termination in Virginia is illegal and a court of law may award employee restitution for lost wages if he or she pursues legal action.
Before jumping to conclusions about the firing, employees should know what is a wrongful termination and if it applies to their situation. Employees wrongfully fired from jobs can confirm suspicions by reviewing the types of firings considered illegal in the state to identify the law broken. Generally, a wrongfully fired employee experienced a dismissal from employment for an illegal reason, such as malicious intent, breach of contract or discrimination. After being wrongfully terminated, employees who seek compensation or reversal of the dismissal must file a claim and follow mandatory steps in the legal process. To learn how to identify an unlawful termination and take proper legal action, review the sections below:
- Types of illegal termination in Virginia
- Types of legal termination in Virginia
- At-will employment exceptions in Virginia
- File a discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Virginia
- File a lawsuit against your employer in Virginia
Virginia Unemployment Resources
Types of Illegal Termination in Virginia
The types of illegal termination of employment that exist stem from federal and state laws designed to protect employees. Unfortunately, employers still commit these types of unlawful terminations blatantly and workers who have experienced employment dismissals must be able to identify the violation. Pinpointing which of the types of illegal firing that occurred is the “cause of action,” an important aspect of the discrimination charge process.
Types of illegal dismissal of employment that violate laws include discrimination or retaliation against employees. These types of unlawful terminations from employment include firing an employee based on age (40 years or older), gender, religion or ethnicity. Retaliatory types of illegal terminations in Virginia also occur when an employer singles out and terminates a worker because he or she has a legal complaint against the company or is receiving government benefits through the employer, such as worker’s compensation. Retaliation or ill intent by an employer gives the employee a cause of action to file a wrongful termination lawsuit.
Types of Legal Termination in Virginia
There are legal reasons for terminating employees in Virginia that may feel unfair and cause negative consequences for workers but are not against the law. Employees recently fired should review these types of legal dismissal of employment before attempting to file a lawsuit against a former employer. Types of legal termination of employment used by employers can include when an employee exhibits declining job performance or at the expected end of an employment contract. When learning about types of legal firing, employees will also find that layoffs or the closing of a business is within the boundaries of the law. These types of legal termination in Virginia are rightful and lawful, so employees cannot pursue legal action against previous employers, but may be able to receive unemployment benefits.
At-Will Employment Exceptions in Virginia
Exceptions to at-will employment are under observance by states in the U.S. as amendments to the at-will employment law. What is employment at will? At-will employment is a legal doctrine stating that an employee and employer hold an “at-will” relationship that either can terminate at any time for any legal reason.
Employees concerned with “Is Virginia an at-will state?” should keep in mind that almost all states in the nation practice the at-will employment law, including Virginia. There is only one of the at will employment exceptions in Virginia recognized by the state law, which is the public policy exception that disallows employers from terminating workers if the dismissal disrupts a public policy. The other exceptions to at-will employment not recognized in Virginia are the implied-contract exception that prohibits dismissal of a worker by an employer if a contract is still active, and the covenant of good faith and fair dealing exception that makes it illegal for an employer to act with malicious retaliation or ill intent toward an employee.
File a Discrimination Charge With the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Virginia
If you decide to pursue action and file a wrongful termination discrimination charge against your former employer, you must submit it to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within 180 days. When filing a charge of discrimination in Virginia, the EEOC may reject your claim if submitted past the deadline or has little evidence or grounds for pursuance. The process for how to file an EEOC employment discrimination charge starts with submitting your claim to the Richmond district office by mail, online or in person.
Wrongfully terminated employees reviewing the process for how to file a charge of employment discrimination will find that the EEOC may start by referring them and their former employers to mediation. Attempting to settle the claim through a mediation program can take about three months, and can only conclude if both parties are satisfied with the outcome. After filing a charge of discrimination in Virginia, the EEOC may attempt a voluntary settlement that does not involve mediation and takes around 10 months to complete successfully, if possible. However, if these types of settlements do not lead to a successful outcome, the EEOC may grant you the Notice of Right to Sue your former employer by filing a lawsuit on your own.
File a Lawsuit Against Your Employer in Virginia
Can I file a lawsuit for wrongful termination? You can file a lawsuit against employers for wrongful termination in a court of law once you receive notice of the right to sue from the EEOC. When suing for wrongful termination in Virginia, evidence like witness testimonials and paycheck stubs will be crucial for proving your case. Before filing a wrongful termination claim against an employer, you should prepare your evidence and determine the cause of action for your claim. Before you file a lawsuit against your employer in Virginia, consider hiring an experienced attorney. Legal representation can inform you how to file a wrongful termination lawsuit as well as assist in obtaining necessary evidence.