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What Does It Mean to Be an “At Will” Employee?

Employment Law FloridaFlorida is an “at will” state, which means that employers can fire employees for little to no reason. This doesn’t mean, however, that as an employee, you have no rights or that if you were wrongfully terminated, you have no legal recourse available. Exceptions exist, and an employment lawyer who is knowledgeable about wrongful termination is your best asset in fighting back.

Are You an “At Will” Employee?

Your employer must indicate that you will be working on an at-will basis. Many people think that at-will policies are clear, but unfortunately, they are not always straightforward. Almost all employee handbooks list out reasons why someone can be terminated, so be sure to re-read yours. This alone should give you a good indication as to whether you’re an at-will employee or not.

If you signed an employment contract when you first started, you may or may not be an at-will employee. Some employee contracts list the steps managers must take before they can fire someone, and learning these steps is a smart move you should not overlook.

So, for example, if your contract states that your employer can fire you for being late four times in one month, you might have a case if you were fired after being late only once. Some companies have contracts promising to place employees in coaching programs before resorting to termination. Others have contracts that protect employees for a set number of years before putting them into at-will status.

Protected Classes

Regardless of whether you’re an at-will employee or not, there are several things you cannot be fired for:

  • Your race
  • Your religious beliefs
  • Your sex
  • Your national origin
  • Your age, especially if you’re over the age of 50

You may have grounds for a wrongful termination lawsuit if you were fired for any of the aforementioned characteristics.

Contact a Florida Employment Lawyer

If you believe your manager wrongfully terminated your employment, it’s important to speak with a Florida employment lawyer immediately. Employment laws are often complex and confusing, and a legal expert will be able to review the details surrounding your termination to determine whether you have a case. Contact Keith M. Stern today at (305) 901-1379 to schedule your consultation.