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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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I am a vetenarian and informed my employer I would be leaving

Customer Question

I am a vetenarian and informed my employer I would be leaving in a few months and moving out of state. Before that date arrived, I was called into the office managers office and was told I was being terminated because of "my negative attitude". I had never been told this was a problem prior to my termination. I since found out that another employer had requested to be transferred to my location and that is who my replacement was the following day. I was not paid for my earned vacation days nor offered any severance pay. Was this an example of wrongful termination. I did not sign any type of employment contract when I was hired.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to assist you. My name is ***** ***** I will do everything I can to answer your question.

As a general matter, employment in the state of Nevada is "at will" absent an express agreement to the contrary. At will employment can be terminated for any reason not amounting to discrimination on the basis of a legally protected trait (race, religion, gender, etc.) or retaliation for engaging in certain forms of legally protected conduct (filing a wage claim, taking FMLA leave, etc.). It doesn't matter whether the basis for termination is fair, true, or whether the employee has provided notice of their intent to quit at a later date. So, an employer breaks no law by preemptively terminating an emloyee who has indicated their intent to leave the company, even if the stated reason for termination is false or was never brought to the employee's attention. Therefore, no claim for wrongful termination would arise from the facts you have described.

As far as severance is concerned, employers have no legal obligation to pay severance except in certain limited circumstances involving mass layoffs at large companies. Otherwise, severance is offered at the employer's discretion--usually because the employer is concerned about being sued and wants to induce the employee to sign a waiver of claims in exchange for the severance money. So, an individual in your circumstance would have no legal entitlement to severance. You could certainly propose severance to your emloyer, but since termination under the circumstances you describe does not raise any legal issues, the threat of litigation is probably not something your employer will take very seriously and so you really don't have much leverage to make demands.

As far as payment of accrued vacation is concerned, employers have no legal obligaton to offer any paid vacation at all and so are free to set the terms and conditions for its use and for payment upon separation of employment. This means that unless you have an employment contract or handbook which specifically states that accrued vacation will be paid upon separation of employment you would have no legal claim to those days.

I hope that you find this information helpful and am genuinely sorry if it is not what you were hoping to hear. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes moving forward.