Legal Insider: Wrongful Termination Rights in Virginia

This is a sponsored column by attorneys John V. Berry and Kimberly H. Berry of Berry & Berry, PLLC, an employment and labor law firm located in Plaza America in Reston that specializes in federal employee, security clearance, retirement and private sector employee matters.

By John V. Berry, Esq.

We often meet with individuals that believe that they have been wrongfully terminated from their employer. When dealing with these types of employment issues, it is important to seek out the advice of a Virginia employment attorney knowledgeable in these areas of law.

Nothing is quite the same as being called into a supervisor’s office or to an employer’s HR office (usually on a Friday) only to be informed that their employment has been terminated.

In most cases, the employee is unaware of the pending termination and there is little advance notice. Once notice is given, the person is often quickly escorted out of the office and is faced with both a sense of shock and loss. Many employees are left bewildered, wondering about their rights.

Wrongful Termination Law in Virginia   

Employee terminations in Virginia are considered “at will”, which generally leaves it to the discretion of an employer to terminate an employee for pretty much any reason.

However, if the employer has violated a state or federal law in terminating the employee, the termination can be considered wrongful and there may be potential avenues to challenge the termination. These can include, but are not limited to:

  1. Whistleblowing Reprisal
  2. Discrimination (age, race, sex, national origin, etc.)
  3. Sexual Harassment
  4. Hostile Work Environment
  5. Violation of Employment Contract

Determine Your Legal Options

The first step that a Virginia employee should take if they believe that they have been wrongfully terminated is to make an appointment with a Virginia employment attorney to determine whether or not the action falls into the category of a “wrongful termination.”

It is also important to consult with an attorney to see what steps may be taken to minimize the career damage that has just occurred and whether the action taken may be appealable.

It is usually the case that employees have more options following a termination than are apparent to them initially. The employer may have broken (or bent) federal or Virginia laws with respect to the termination action. If so, then it may be possible to negotiate a resolution on behalf of the employee, with the employer, resolving the matter.

A resolution generally occurs more often when the employee retains an attorney to contact the employer about the inappropriate or illegal nature of an employee’s termination. An attorney may also be able to tell an employee if their termination does not meet the criteria for wrongful termination and offer other strategies.

Conclusion

When facing wrongful termination issues in Virginia it is important to obtain the advice of and representation of an attorney.  Our law firm advises and represents individuals in wrongful termination matters in Virginia and other jurisdictions. We can be contacted at www.berrylegal.com or by telephone at 703-668-0070.

Please also visit and like us on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

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