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by PoP Sponsor July 17, 2017 at 12:15 pm 0

This column is written and sponsored by Alan Lescht & Associates, PC, an employment litigation firm in Washington, DC, that handles cases involving contract disputes, wage and hour issues, discrimination and retaliation, wrongful termination, whistleblower retaliation and security clearances.

Welcome to On the Job with DC’s Employment Attorney, bringing you employment law insight. Alan Lescht & Associates knows that understanding your rights is vital to your professional success. For more than 20 years, our firm has represented clients in Washington, DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia, and federal employees around the world. Each of our columns will feature a legal topic that is pertinent to employees in DC.

Can my employer fire me for any reason?

In most circumstances, yes. You are considered employed “at-will” unless you have a contract stating otherwise, or you are a government employee. At-will employees can be fired for any reason or no reason at all. Your employer does not have to give you advanced notice or tell you why you are being fired. However, you are equally free to quit at any time without notice.

There is one important caveat — you cannot be fired for an illegal reason.

What reasons are illegal?

The law prohibits most employers from making employment decisions based on protected characteristics. This means that employers may not demote, suspend, terminate, or otherwise change the terms of employment based on an employee’s color, disability, gender, national origin, race, religion, etc. Employers are also prohibited from retaliating against workers who report violations of employee rights or other unlawful activity. For example, you can’t be fired for complaining about discrimination or not receiving your paycheck.

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