“At will” employees have rights

There is much confusion over “at will” employment. At will employment simply means that your employer does not need “cause” to terminate your employment. That does not mean, however, that at will employees are without rights. Even if you are an at-will employee, you still cannot be fired for reasons that are illegal under state and federal law. In these situations, the government has decided to make an exception to the general rule of at-will employment. For example, if your employer is subject to federal and state laws prohibiting job discrimination (as all but the smallest employers are), you cannot be fired because of certain characteristics, such as your age, race, religion, or gender. Similarly, you cannot be fired because you have complained about illegal activity, about discrimination or harassment, or about health and safety violations in the workplace. And you cannot be fired for exercising a variety of legal rights, including the right to take family and medical leave, to take leave to serve in the military, or to take time off work to vote or serve on a jury.

If you have been terminated because of your age, race, gender, or religion, or if you have been terminated for reporting safety concerns, you have recourse. Contact Preston & Salango (wvlawyer.com) for a free consultation.

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