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Can I be fired for not coming into work, during a state of emergency in Virginia?

Raphine, VA |

I work in a restaurant and they told me I have to work on my day off because they have no help. We are currently in a state of emergency and there are tree limbs down everywhere with roads closed.

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Attorney answers 1


Virginia, like most states, is an "at will" employment state. An employer can terminate an employee for any reason or no reason. However, there are exceptions. An employee may not be discharged for discriminatory reasons, such as race, gender, age, national origin, religion or sexual orientation. An employee also may not be discharged in retaliation for refusing to comply with an illegal directive of the employer, or for engaging in certain other protected activities, or if the employment contract or collective bargaining agreement provides that the employee can only be discharged for cause. The reason for your termination appears unrelated to any of these protected categories, and hence your employer likely is within his right to terminate you. You may feel that such an action may be unfair or inappropriate, but wrongful termination laws do not guarantee fairness or justice. They only prohibit certain types of discriminatory conduct and other conduct. That being said, you may wnat to speak to your employer and try to reason with him or her. You may want to speak to an employee rights lawyer to further discuss your situation.

This response is for information purpose only and does not constitute a legal advice. This response does not create an attorney-client relationship.