Do I have legal rights if I was fired for no valid reason?

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Do I have legal rights if I was fired for no valid reason?

I was told that the company (a small employer) is going in new direction; was termed just short of 2 months following my inquiry of unfair pay practices (late pay) and leadership did not want to talk about it Said it was in the past and worked out. Now I am suddenly fired for no reason. What are my rights in an at-will state?

Asked on January 8, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

As a general matter, a company does not need a "valid" reason to fire an employee who does not have an employment contract; an employee without a contract is an "employee at will" who may be fired at any time, for any reason, or even for no reason other than the employer wants to fire him/her.

That said, the law does not allow employers to retaliate against their staff for making certain protected complaints, such as complaints about violations of certain wage laws (e.g. minimum wage, overtime). It is possible that your complaint about late payment is also protected; you should consult with an employment law attorney to see if you do in fact have a claim for illegal retaliation, under all the facts of your case.


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