Perhaps the biggest employment law myth is that, because employment is at-will, an employer can fire an employee for any reason at any time. This is simply not true.
What is Employment-At-Will?
Employment at will is the general rule that an employment relationship may be terminated by the employer or employee for any reason, with or without cause. But this rule is subject to one very important exception. An employer may not terminate an employee if that termination would violate the terms of a contract or a statute.
Most of the statutes protecting employees in areas of wage and hour regulations, family and medical leave, and discrimination on the basis of race, sex, age, sexual orientation, disability, and other protected classes contain anti-retaliatory provisions. These provisions prohibit an employer from taking adverse employment action against an employee because he or she asserted or attempted to assert his or her rights.
While employment contracts are rare, they do exist in certain circumstances, such as a union’s collective bargaining agreement. There are also certain times where an employer may agree to a defined term of employment with an employee. In these instances, an employer’s ability to terminate an employee may be limited.
If you believe you’ve been retaliated against or wrongfully terminated, contact us for a free initial consultation.