What constitutes unlawful termination?

I feel like I have been unlawfully terminated. I was accused of taking a store credit card and giving it to a cashier to use. Many discrepancies exist in this situation. One I made cashier of the month. I was a good worker. I was always on time always worked hard and customers thought I was friendly. And I had no history of stealing so why start? And they said they had me on tape, which they didn’t show to me when they should have. And finally the incident happened almost 2 months ago. What are my rights?

Asked on August 1, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Generally, employees are known as employees "at will" which means that an employer or employee is free to terminate his or her employment at any time.  This doctrine usually governs most employees but those in the public sector or those who have an employment contract.  The doctrine of wrongful termination has been narrowly construed by the State courts and the Federal Courts to be used in cases of harassment or discrimination.  There may be state remedies that would apply to cases that do not fit in to these criteria, such as defamation or intentional infliction of emotional distress.  But these also carry strict requirements.  It is best if you go and speak with an attorney that specializes in employment discrimination to see if the facts of your case give rise to something actionable.  Good luck.

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