I’ve been working for a private employer for the past 8 years (Reston Trash Services, Inc) in Virginia. I’ve always give 100% even performing extra work functions without getting paid nor requesting payment. In April 2012 my back was injured, not saying it was injured on the job as I perform various tedious tasks around my home as well as helping others with task such as move, lawn work etc. So I’m not saying I was injured on the job. Here’s the story… On Sunday May Sunday, April 22nd, due to my back pain I’d taken medications that were previously prescribed to me to relieve some of the back pain. The medication put me into a deep sleep and I overslept for work the following day. I was to report to work on Monday, April 23rd, at 6:00. I received a phone call from my boss on Monday morning at 6:06 AM asking where I was, I explained that my back was in a lot of pain but I was on my way and would be there in 15 minutes. My boss then stated that he would get another employee (the supervisor) to work for me that day and for me to rest. Later that evening I received a phone call from the supervisor that stated the boss wanted me to take the week off to let my back heal. Based on that conversation, I thought it would also be best as I was in a lot of pain. The following day, Tuesday, April 24th I went to the doctors and was diagnosed with having muscle spasms and inflammation in my back. The doctor prescribed me (1) prednisone for the inflammation & (2) Flexural for the muscle spasms. I attempted to contact my boss later that evening to inform the boss of my diagnosis however, he did not answer the phone nor did he return my call. I left a message and proceed to take the week off as instructed to allow my back some healing time. I attempted to contact my boss the following Sunday 29th, got no answer and left a message. The boss finally called me back later Sunday evening and I stated I was just calling to let him know I was much better and would be on the job the next day (Monday, April 30th) however, he informed me that he had already made arrangements for Ted to work on Monday. I was a little confused and stunned as this employee had not worked for the company for a year now and the fact that he had already arranged for him to work for me again on Monday. I explained to the boss at the time, that I would simply give him a call the following day on Monday, April 30th as I felt it wasn’t much I could say at the time. Again, I reached out to the boss on Monday April 30th and got no answer nor a return phone call which was odd. Again, I reached out to my boss twice on Tuesday, May1st and got no answer so again, I left messages. Feeling something was not setting right with me, I went out to the work site and saw that once again the other employee Ted was on the route working. They did not see my so I simply went back home very confused. After not receiving any returned phone calls, as you can imagine I was highly upset and again attempted to contact the boss on Thursday May 3rd, got no answer and no return phone call. At this time, a letter regarding my employment status, copies of my doctor’s note, etc was sent to the business address via certified mail. As I figured, after 8 dedicated years of service I needed to know the status of my employment and if the boss wasn’t responding to my calls, maybe he would respond to a notarized, certified, letter requesting some type of information regarding my employment status. After sending the certified letter I attempted to contact the boss on Sunday, May 6th and again got no answer so I left another message. Finally on Sunday, May 6th @ 9:17 the boss returns my many phone calls. I explained that I had been trying to get in touch with him leaving many messages, including the certified letter and was wondering what was going on with my employment. At this time the boss explained that he had been trying to figure out a way to pay myself and the other employee but could not afford to pay the both of us (remember this now new employee use to work for the company but had not worked for the company in over a year). I asked why he had not returned my phone calls and he stated he had been busy. Sorry for the long details but it’s a very confusing situation. I’d like to know if I have any case against my former employer who’ve I’ve worked for 8 years and he all of a sudden when I’m injured bought back an old employee to replace me and not professional inform me about his decision vs. having me call him every day and send certified letters to be told that he can no longer afford to pay me. Also, this is a private business that I’ve worked for 8 year, over the past year and a half it’s just been me and the boss all other years it’s been me, the boss and the other employee.
State/Country relating to question: Virginia
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Do I have grounds for a wrongful termination suit???
Did you have an employment contract?
No, no employment contract
Before reading on, please keep in mind that I do not make the laws. I only report the laws and so please don't shoot the messenger. Please also remember that I only get credit for the time it takes to help you if you rate me 3 stars/smiley faces or above. I do not get paid by the website.Unfortunately, with no employment contract, you are considered an at-will employee which means that under the law, an employer can terminate you at any time for any reason or no reason at all so long as it is not due to your age, race, gender, disability, religion, or national origin, in violation of Title VII federal law. Similarly, an employee has the right to quit at any time for any reason or no reason at all.Another exception to at-will employment is that an employer cannot terminate an employee while he or she is out on FMLA leave. Unfortunately, it sounds like your employer did not have enough employees to qualify you for FMLA leave.Please let me know if this has answered your question. If you need clarification, please do not select a rating yet. Instead, click the Reply or Continue Conversation button. If, however, I have fully answered your question, please remember to rate me a 3 or higher so that I may be compensated for the time it takes to respond to your questions. That is the only way that we experts get paid since we do not get paid by the site. Keep in mind that you are rating my service and not the website and that the site prohibits us from giving legal advice or opinions on your specific circumstances. We can only provide general legal information.
Experienced attorney representing companies and individuals in employment law matters and litigation
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