Your work is your lifeline. It allows you to provide for your family, keep a roof over your head, and put food on the table. In virtually all jurisdictions, however, the great majority of employment is “at will,” which implies that any partner can end the working relationship at any time and for any cause, with a few exceptions. (Public and unionized positions are common exceptions to “at-will” employment.)
In some cases, losing a job might be considered “wrongful termination,” allowing you the right to sue for damages. A Connecticut employment law attorney can tell you more, so schedule a consultation today.
What does it mean to be an “at-will” employee?
Being an at-will employee implies that both you and your employer have the right to end the work relationship. If you are not satisfied with your present position, you can leave at any moment. Unless you have a contract or a collective bargaining agreement, your employer cannot penalize you for doing this.
Your employer may terminate you at any moment. Depending on the regulations in your jurisdiction, they may be required to present a valid reason for your termination. For example, if your management is dissatisfied with your performance, they may terminate you. Sometimes, an employer does not explain other than that you and the firm should part ways.
It may be quite aggravating to know that your firm can fire people at any time. However, you have the same right to resign whenever you wish.
What is wrongful termination?
Under the legal notion of “at will” employment, your employer may terminate or lay you off at any time and for any cause that is not expressly banned by law. Certain terminations are considered “wrongful” under state and federal law, which means that the dismissed employee may file a legal claim against the company. A termination is considered “wrongful” in these cases:
- Violated the conditions of a legitimate and enforceable employment contract;
- Counter to law, such as state or federal anti-discrimination rules or laws that prohibit retaliatory behavior, such as whistleblower statutes; or
- Termination for jury service, seeking leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), participating in the military forces, refusing to follow safety rules, or refusing to participate in other unethical or unlawful conduct are all examples of violations of public policy.
As a general rule, neither state nor federal law requires an employer to disclose a cause for termination of employment. However, if you have a legal employment contract, its conditions may demand a specified cause for termination of employment. For more information, consult an experienced employment law attorney today.