What Does It Mean to Be Fired For-Cause?

Termination of any kind is a serious matter for both the employer and – of course – the employee. If you are an employee, the worst possible day you can have at your job is the one where you get fired. All businesses handle termination in their own way, but most don’t handle them impersonally – that is, chances are you’ll meet with your supervisor, and HR rep, or another higher-up in the company who will hand out the bad news.

Termination can happen for cause or without cause. Generally speaking, an employee who is fired for cause is being terminated for their misconduct. They could have broken the law, violated an important company policy, or made a serious mistake or lapse in judgment that put the company at risk.

It’s important to note here that these are not legal requirements for firing an employee for cause, but merely how the situation is defined. That said, employees who are fired for cause can lose the opportunity to collect unemployment benefits.

At-Will Employment & Wrongful Termination

West Virginia is an at-will employment state. That is, an employee can be fired for a good reason, a bad reason, or no reason at all, so long as the real reason is not an illegal reason. That means that in West Virginia whether or not someone is fired for cause really has no bearing on whether or not they could have been fired at all.

If you were fired for cause but the reason your employer provided seems like a lie or made up, your gut may be right – there’s a chance that you may have been wrongfully terminated.

Your employer knows they can’t base a decision to terminate on discrimination based on your gender, age, or race. Your employer also knows that they cannot lawfully retaliate against an employee who engaged in a protected workplace activity, such as reporting sexual harassment, mining safety violations, or patient safety issues. Because employers know this, they might find a different and what they claim to be legitimate reason to fire you.

For example, you might have been fired for violating an often ignored policy that other employees routinely violate, or for making a minor mistake that your employer overlooks for other employees. When you sense that your employer’s true motivation to terminate you was rooted in discrimination or retaliation, however, you might be right and might have a right to pursue a legal action against your employer.

Do You Suspect Wrongful Termination?

Whether or not you were fired for cause, contact a West Virginia employment law attorney if you sense that you may be a victim of wrongful termination. We at Rod Smith Law PLLC dig in and seek justice for our clients when an employer tries to cover up an unlawful reason for their termination.

We have nearly two decades of experience helping people like you seek fair and just compensation after their rights were violated at work. You can take advantage of our free confidential consultation to tell us about your claim and learn about the legal options we can help you use. You do not pay Rod Smith Law PLLC any fees unless we win.

Contact us online or call (304) 553-0337 to request a free initial consultation, where you can learn more about how we can help!

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