What Does "Right-to-Work" Mean?
Yes Virginians, you live and work in a “Right to Work” State, but what does that really mean?
We receive calls frequently from Virginia employees who want to know what their rights are if Virginia is a Right to Work” State.
Right to Work came about from the 1935 National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), through which Congress, for the first time, gave Organized Labor the ability to fire workers for refusing to pay union dues and join a union.
Clearly, many states, Virginia included, did not like any federal law that required employees to join unions. So, in the mid 1940’s, numerous states enacted Right to Work laws prohibiting forced union membership and payment of forced union dues as a condition of employment.
That is all “Right to Work” means. Simply states, you cannot lose your job for refusing to pay union dues or join the Union.
Unfortunately, over the years, the phrase has been misused and many Virginians incorrectly believe the protection provides various rights related to keeping their jobs.
In Virginia, you have very little protection when it comes to your job. Unless you have an employment contract that defines how you can be fired, under Virginia law, you can be fired for any reason other than your race, age, gender or religious beliefs.
Virginia is also an “at will” employment state which means employers (unless you have a contract that states otherwise) can let go of employees at will, without reason or notice.
If your boss doesn’t like your socks, they can fire you. If your boss is having a bad day, she can fire you. You have almost no legal protection or rights to your current job.
So, what does that mean for our clients who have non-compete agreements or employment agreements? It means, that likely even if you are fired, your employment agreement still stands.
If you have been let go, it is important to know what your options are. Ask for a copy of your employment agreements and call an attorney who can explain what rights you do have.
It is worth the few hours of legal fees, to know what your options are – especially in this economy. So Virginians, please start telling folks what “Right to Work” really means.
To speak with an attorney about your employment contract, please contact our firm at (866) 985-0098 or firstname.lastname@example.org.