Can I be fired for talking to an attorney?
It depends. If you are conferring with an attorney about an employment discrimination matter or some labor law issues, your employer’s act of terminating you may be considered unlawful retaliation. Under some statutes and laws, employers cannot legally retaliate against you for seeking information and legal assistance even if you do not have a winning case. In any event, if you are in an attorney-client relationship, the communication with your attorney is completely confidential.
My employer is treating me unfairly. Do I have a case?
Maybe. The key question is whether the employer’s conduct is simply unfair or unlawful. Unfortunately, it is not illegal for an employer to be mean, inconsiderate, or rude in the treatment of its employees. However, an employer cannot fire, discipline, or treat an employee unfavorably simply due to that person’s protected status (such as their national origin, race, religion, sex, etc.).
An experienced employment law attorney can examine the facts of your case and help determine whether your employer’s conduct is illegal. And, if so, a Virginia employment lawyer can advise you on how to proceed.
What does an “at will” employee mean?
Virginia is an “at will” employment state which simply means that an employer does not have a contract of employment for a specific period of time. The employment relationship can generally be terminated by either party for any reason, at any time, and for no reason at all. Employees still have many rights, however, including those rights provided under various discrimination statutes, whistleblower laws, and other applicable federal and state laws.
A Virginia employment attorney can examine your employment relationship and help advise you on its precise nature and the rights and obligations that it provides you.
As an employer, should I investigate claims of sexual harassment?
Yes. Conducting an investigation affords an opportunity to resolve the matter without incurring legal liability, and it will certainly create a more comfortable work environment.
Am I protected under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?
Maybe. Not all employees are covered under the FMLA. Employees are eligible to take leave under the FMLA if they work for an employer who has at least 50 employees within 75 miles of location at which the employee worked. Additionally, the employee needs to have worked for the employer for at least 12 months, working a certain number of hours during that time.
If you feel that your employer has failed to comply with the FMLA, contact a Virginia employment law attorney. An experienced employment law attorney will be able to explain the precise parameters of the FMLA and both the employer’s and employee’s responsibilities under the FMLA.
Can a potential employer ask about my disability during an interview?
An employer may describe the qualifications necessary to perform the job in question but may not ask whether you have a disability that could affect that performance. If you do indicate that you will need an accommodation to perform the task, an employer may ask what types of accommodation you would need in order to perform the task effectively.
If you believe you have been denied a job based on information about your disability or have been fired from a position due to your disability, consult a Virginia employment law attorney.