Not a Member? Get access to HR news and resources that you can trust.
Make sure supervisors know these common justifications for harassment are unacceptable.
Is your employee handbook ready for the changing world of work? With SHRM’s Employee Handbook Builder get peace of mind that your handbook is up-to-date.
60+ new SHRM Seminar dates in 10 U.S. cities and virtually.
Expand your influence and learn how to become an effective leader -- Join us in Phoenix, AZ, October 2-4, 2017.
Virginia Supreme Court Case Challenges At-Will Employment
On Jan. 11, SHRM and the SHRM Virginia State Council (VASHRM) filed an amicus briefin the Virginia Supreme Court case Johnston v. William E. Wood & Associates Inc. In this case, Brenda Johnston, whose employment was terminated by William E. Wood & Associates in 2013, argues that her termination was unlawful because she was not provided “reasonable notice” in advance of her termination.
Virginia, along with every state in the country but Montana, operates under the doctrine of “at-will” employment, meaning that any employer can terminate an employee at any time and for any reason, except an illegal one, without incurring legal liability. Similarly, employees are free to quit at any time. Some states have developed limited exceptions to the at-will doctrine either by statute or interpretation of common law.
In the amicus brief, SHRM and VASHRM (joined by the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, the Virginia Assisted Living Association, the Virginia Retail Merchants Association, and the Virginia Restaurant Lodging and Travel Association) argue that Virginia law and practice in this area does not support the requirement of advance notice for either employers or employees who seek to end an employment relationship. If advance notice is required to fire an at-will employee, every case involving a termination will result in a jury question of whether the notice provided was reasonable. In addition, the brief argues that any change to the at-will doctrine should be made by the legislature after full consideration of the social, economic and policy implications.
The Johnston case is one to watch, not only for its impact on at-will employment in Virginia but also for the repercussions it could have in other at-will employment across the country. SHRM will keep you apprised of developments in this case.
You have successfully saved this page as a bookmark.
Please confirm that you want to proceed with deleting bookmark.
You have successfully removed bookmark.
Please log in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Your session has expired. Please log in again before saving bookmarks.
Please purchase a SHRM membership before saving bookmarks.
An error has occurred
Recommended for you
Become a SHRM Member
SHRM’s HR Vendor Directory contains over 3,200 companies
[/_catalogs/masterpage/SHRMCore/Main.master][Title][SHRM Online - Society for Human Resource Management]