Most private sector employees in North Carolina are employed “at-will.” This means that an employer generally has the right to terminate an employee at any time, without notice, and for no reason. However, there are 3 exceptions to this rule:
- Breaches of Employment Contracts
- Unlawful Discrimination
- Violations of North Carolina Public Policy
Breaches of Employment Contracts
Companies sometimes enter into agreements with executives and other employees, setting forth the terms and conditions of employment. These agreements specify the duration of employment and the circumstances under which employment may be terminated. If an employer violates the agreement, the employee may have a legal claim for breach of contract.
Many employers are prohibited from firing or taking other adverse action against employees due to race, color, national origin, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, pregnancy, or disability. Also, some employers are prohibited from penalizing employees for taking family or medical leave.
Violations of North Carolina Public Policy
State law also prohibits certain employers from firing an employee for:
- Refusing a request to violate a state law (such as refusing to commit perjury during testimony)
- Opposing unlawful employer activity (such as protesting non-payment of overtime)
- Participating in a role protected by public policy (such as serving on a jury)
- Submitting claims related to matters (such as workplace injuries, failure to pay earned income, or safety/health issues)
To learn more about wrongful termination and legal protections, see article on Wrongful Termination.
If you’ve been wrongfully terminated, contact Rich Daugherty. He has expertise in handling a wide range of wrongful termination cases. He understands that being fired unlawfully is a traumatic experience for employees and their families. Whether your employment has been wrongfully terminated, you’re in fear of losing your job unlawfully, or you’re stuck in an untenable situation, contact Rich. He will stand by your side every step of the way to resolve your case fairly.
Rich offers a one-on-one relationship with his clients. When you contact his office, you will speak directly with him. You can arrange for a brief phone conference at no charge. Rich represents individuals from across North Carolina. Evening appointments are also available.