At-Will employment means that an employer has the right to terminate an employee for any reason, or none at all. Proponents of At-Will employment say that employers should have the right to terminate anyone for any reason with or without cause at a moment’s notice because, you guessed it, employees can do the same thing.
Opponents of At-Will employment argue that the nature of the relationship between employer and employee already provides an unfair amount of bargaining power in favor of the employer. They argue that employees should be provided with legal protections to prevent the unfair abuse of this power. Work is important, after all.
- Wrongful termination occurs when the an employee is dismissed in violation of the employment contract. Since most employees under contract are stuck with an “At-Will” relationship, this is a common reason to levy a lawsuit. If there is no contract, employees are almost always considered at-will legally.
- What to do if you were fired from your job for no reason:
- First, find out if your employment contract specifically defines the relationship between employer and employee as “at-will.” Although you should retain the services of legal counsel either way, it’s helpful to know this information outright.
- Determine the circumstances under which you can be terminated if you are not an at-will employee. If you have a union or collective bargaining agreement, these circumstances are usually carefully defined. If you believe you were wrongly terminated under the conditions of a collective bargaining agreement, then speak with union officials. They will fight on your behalf.
- Make a record of your working conditions. If there were reasons you may have been terminated, make note of them in the record. If you were subject to constructive discharge, such as harassment or mistreatment, at work, then you may have been wrongfully terminated. Were you forced to resign through coercion? There’s case to be made.
- Even though it’s probably too late, you’ll want to walk out the doors as peaceably as possible. You don’t want this experience to follow you to the next job, so try not to cause any trouble before you approach legal counsel. Even though you believe you were fired without cause or for no reason, you’ll still want to treat your ex-employer with respect in the future as well.
- Check state and federal laws to see if you qualify for unemployment benefits while you look for another job. Keep track of any money you lose during the period in which you aren’t employed. Your lawyer might be able to use these figures later.