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California Lawyer
California Lawyer, Labor Attorney
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 970
Experience:  Licensed to practice law in California
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I was recently terminated. My manager notified me and stated

Customer Question

I was recently terminated. My manager notified me and stated I was being involuntarily separated and and I had two weeks to find something in the company. This followed a recent hire and demands for me to show the rest of the team my work and explain the steps. During the course of updating my resume as suggested by the manager I inadvertently committed a data breech. I explained that the stress of the separation had caused my lapse. After performing all the mitigation possible and acting in good faith I was terminated two weeks after the notification. The reason given for termination was the data breech. I lost my job after 5 years, employer contribution to my 401k, and no discussion of severance. Obviously the breech was used as justification but because of the stress they created do I have a case?
JA: Because employment law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: VA
JA: Is the employment agreement "at will," union, full time or part time?
Customer: Yes at will
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Data was believed classified (ambiguous); personal conflict (disagreement, micromanage) with the project lead but nothing serious or physical
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 month ago.

Good afternoon,

I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of your situation. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today. In order to give you a clear and concise answer, I will need some additional information about the circumstances, please.

1. I'm not sure I understand what you are asking. Are you simply asking whether your facts support a cause of action for wrongful termination?

Doug

Customer: replied 23 days ago.
I asking if there is a case for wrongful termination? My question arises from multiple explanations for my termination.Before the data breech I was told that my removal was based on reduction of staff, however several people hired after me remained on the contract. Also, I was also told that the termination had nothing to do with my performance. Finally, after the data breech, my manager suggested that this was the reason for my termination.I am attempting to understand how terminations based on "at will" employment can result in forfeiture of employer 401k contributions and severance pay.
Expert:  California Lawyer replied 22 days ago.

Hello,

I will try and help, but you may not like this answer. Please don't shoot the messenger.

Absent a contract, all employment at will. That means you can be terminated at any time and for any reason (prohibited discrimination excluded). It does not even have to be a good reason. Again, unless there is a contract, there is no law that requires them to provide severance pay. With respect to the 401k match, the plan documents should spell out what happens in these situations. I would look at that.

I hope this helps. If you need more, holler back at us.

DCG

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