At-will employment is usually a scary term because it means that your employer can fire you anytime they want, without even giving a valid reason for doing so. However, it also means that the employee can quit at any time without giving prior notice.
If you were fired without cause, maybe you are employed at-will without even knowing it. Hire an employment attorney virginia to understand whether you are employed at-will and what your rights are.
What does at-will employment mean?
In at-will employment, your employer can fire for any reason they want, irrespective of whether it is considered valid or invalid. For example, they can literally fire you because your favorite color does not match theirs, and you can do nothing about it.
Employers can change the terms of the employment, such as the wages, paid time off, or benefits plans, without informing you beforehand and with no consequence.
At-will employment offers a great deal of flexibility for the employers and the employees. Therefore, the employees can also quit the job without notice if they wish to do so. Normally, you are required to give a notice two weeks before you resign to protect your professional reputation, but that is not needed here.
Your rights as an at-will employee
Even though at-will employment allows the employer to fire you for any reason they want, the government has decided to enforce certain laws to protect at-will employees. An employer cannot fire you based on your race, religion, nationality, gender, or similar personal characteristics that you were born with and have no control over.
Likewise, it is illegal for an employer to fire an at-will employee based on the fact that they complained about an illegal activity going on in the workplace, such as discrimination or harassment. You can also not be fired for exercising your legal rights, such as asking for leave for family and medical care, military service, voting, or serving on the jury.
Do you have to sign the at-will agreements?
No. You are not obligated by the law to sign these agreements, and your employer cannot force you to agree to these conditions. Likewise, you cannot ask your employer to change the conditions just because you are uncomfortable with them.
Make sure you go through every employment-related document before signing them and accepting the job so that you do not mistakenly agree to at-will employment if you do not want it.
If you were fired from your job because of your personal characteristics but are reluctant to file a complaint because you are an at-will employee, know that there are options to take legal action. If you were mistreated by your employer, contact an attorney today.