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TJ, Esq.
TJ, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 12407
Experience:  JD, MBA
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on 1/19/11 i was terminated from my job for receiving a warning

Customer Question

on 1/19/11 i was terminated from my job for receiving a warning ....not a ticket but a warning from a highway patrolman. i was on probation for a logging violation that stood for an entire year. At that time I was informed that i couldn't receive any tickets or reprimands.On the 13 th of Jan., I was stopped for speeding 52 in a 45, only 7 miles over!! the officer assured me that he was not going to cite me because it wasn't that serious. My company said , it didn' t matter. Whatever i was stopped for , they saw it as I was guiltyl , and 5 days later let me go!! I asked how can you do this when i didn't get a ticket!? I was 6 months into my probation with 6 months left.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 6 years ago.
Hello and thank you for allowing me the opportunity to assist you. I am a Virginia attorney, and I will strive to give you a concise answer.

Whether or not you have recourse is going to depend on whether you had an employment contract that limited the reasons that you could be terminated.

If you had no employment contract that limited the reasons that you could be terminated, then you were an employee at-will. The employment at-will doctrine states that either the employer or employee may end the employment relationship at any time and for any reason. Over the years legislatures have enacted exceptions to the employment at-will doctrine for things like illegal discrimination, but they are exactly that: exceptions.

If the exceptions don't apply, then the courts will simply view the termination as a lawful business decision, and such decisions will not be overturned even if they were unfair or can be proven to have been poorly made. It sounds harsh, but it's that same principle that allows the employee to immediately quit that job if she were to find something better. In other words, the employer is not shackled to the employment relationship any more than the employee is shackled to it.

On the other hand, if you did have a contract that limited the reasons that you could be terminated (and the contract would be specific to you, or a union contract), and if receiving a warning for speeding is not one of the reasons, then you have a strong argument that you were wrongfully terminated, and that the employer breached the contract. In that scenario, you would be entitled to money damages and possible reinstatement (I say "possible" because people often don't want to return to their jobs after litigation with the employer - and understandably so).

In sum, whether or not you have recourse depends on whether there was an employment contract. If so, then you'll want to consult with a local attorney who can review the situation in greater detail and possibly file a lawsuit.

Have I satisfactorily addressed your concerns? If not, then feel free to let me know, as I will be happy to clarify my answer or help with your follow-up questions. In the meantime, please remember to click the green accept button so that I will receive credit and compensation for my time (doing so does not end our session). Positive feedback is always appreciated as well. Thank you and good luck!
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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
are you saying that i should take the settlement offer and cut my ties with this company? the way this company is Frito Lay....I use to be a 6-figure truck driver for them....and if so , what is a fair settlement?
Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 6 years ago.
Hi again.

I don't know enough about your case to say whether you should take the settlement. I still don't even know if you had a contract. If you had no contract, however, then I would certainly take the settlement since your employer technically had the right to terminate you for the warning. If there was a contract that protected you against termination for speeding warnings, then I'd probably try to negotiate somewhere between 6-12 months of wages plus insurance while you look for a new job. But it really depends on all the facts. If you're at the point of trying to decide what kind of settlement to take, then you may want to hire local counsel who can review all the facts in greater detail and give you a more thorough opinion.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
thank you !! that gives me more fact to base my decision on .you've been a big help...
Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 6 years ago.
Glad to help. Good luck in getting this resolved!