Employment | Right to Work

The Personal Injury & Employment Law Center

Understanding the “Right to Work” in Virginia

 

What does it mean to live in a “right to work” state? Many employees confuse “right to work” with “right to a job,” and think that they cannot be fired without being given a reason  – but this is not the case. In actuality, “right to work” laws tend to benefit employers rather then employees, despite the name, and so it is important for both employers and employees working in the Commonwealth of Virginia to better understand the term.

 

What does “Right to Work” mean?

The term, “right to work” has nothing to do with an employee’s entitlement to his or her job. Instead, it references laws that have been passed in many U.S. states that prohibit union security agreements between companies and labor unions. In other words, employees in right to work states cannot be compelled to join a union or to pay union dues, but still may receive the benefits and protections of unions if they work in a unionized environment. This may sound like a protection for employees, since they cannot be forced to pay for union representation that they do not necessarily want. However, the practical effect of right to work laws is to make it harder for unions to exist, since they inevitably have less access to funding. Thus, individuals who support labor unions generally oppose right to work laws, while individuals who want their state to be more attractive to businesses and to employers (and to keep the costs of labor down) generally support right to work laws.

 

 Misconceptions:

Remember, right to work laws have to do with labor unions, not the individual rights of employees regarding their employment. So it is important to keep in mind that working in a right to work state like Virginia does NOT mean that:

  • You have the right to your job
  • Your employer has to provide you a reason for your termination.
  • You have the right to get your job back.
  • You have a legal case (“cause of action”) because you were terminated for no reason.

It is more important to know that Virginia is an “at will employment” state. That means that, unless you have an employment contract that says otherwise, your employer is free to end your employment without warning and without giving any reason. And you too have the right to leave your employment without warning and without giving any reason. Your employment is “at your will” and “at your employer’s will.” And as long as the termination of employment was not for an illegal or discriminatory reason, it does not have to be fair.

 

 What if I am under contract?

If you have an employment contract or agreement with your employer, then the terms of your employment, including the conditions under which you may be terminated, typically are governed by your employment contract. The fact that Virginia is a “right to work” or “at will employment” state is therefore unlikely to impact the terms of your employment.

 

 What if I work for the government?

Government employees may be subject to different rules and protections regarding discipline and termination, but those protections are unlikely to be affected by any right to work laws.

 

 Didn’t we vote in Virginia on this recently?

Yes! But the vote was not about whether or not Virginia should be a right to work state. By statute, Virginia has been a right to work state for several decades. However, in 2016, we voted on whether to incorporate a right to work amendment into our state constitution. The main difference between a statute and a constitutional amendment is that an amendment is more difficult to pass, and, correspondingly, much more difficult to change. The proposed 2016 amendment did not pass in Virginia, and so we remain a right to work state by statute only.

 

 What if I think my employment rights were violated?

As stated above, Virginia does not provide a legal remedy for the simple reason that you were terminated. However, there are numerous federal and state laws that do protect employees from being wrongly terminated for whistleblowing or engaging in protected activity or based on illegal discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation. In addition, employees should be aware of their rights when negotiating severance agreements or seeking unemployment. At Locke and Quinn, we have experience in a variety of employment matters. Please contact our office with any further inquiries about these services.

I worked with Richard Locke over the past year and a half. During that time, he provided me with counsel that was intelligent, balanced and trustworthy. He was respectful of the difficulty of the situation, and provided an educated and thoughtful approach to the process. Rather than focus on the drama and minutiae of the case, Richard was driven to provide favorable legal results in the most positive way possible. In many ways, his demeanor helped to keep me focused and calm throughout the process. He combines a superior knowledge of the law with a wealth of experience inside and outside of the courtroom. This knowledge and experience was incredibly valuable as my case progressed to help steer its direction and my decisions. His office staff is very responsive, and a pleasure to work with as well.read more
Amy Johnson
Amy Johnson
18:39 18 May 18
My wife and I adopted a babygirl in 2015. A friend of mine, whose daughter is lawyer, recommended Colleen Quinn. We went for our initial consultation and we could tell immediately that Colleen was very knowledgeable and professional. She went into detail and gave us the costs associated with the adoption as well as every single step in the process. Colleen is very welcoming and easy to talk to. We cannot leave this review without mentioning our primary contact, Colleen's paralegal, CharSalle Charles (Charli). Without Charli, I don't think we would have made it through the adoption. Charli was there anytime we called to answer our questions and to provide support for us. Charli even came to the hospital the day after our daughter was born, to handle all the paperwork between us and the birth mother. We truly thank Locke and Quinn and especially Charli for their hard work and support. Our adoption was even finalized a month in advance of the initial date set forth. We highly recommend Locke and Quinn to any looking to adopt!!!read more
Tierre Christmas
Tierre Christmas
17:23 09 Feb 16
After doing quite a bit of research on the adoption process, we decided to set up an initial consultation with Colleen, and we found that first session very beneficial and informative. There were many things that impressed us about Colleen from the very beginning: her level of expertise and reputation as an adoption attorney, the accolades she's received throughout her career, her friendly and personable nature, and her willingness to provide us with comprehensive information about the adoption process including projected fees. We also wanted to make sure that we were being well represented and advocated for, and quickly knew that Colleen would not only guide us through the adoption process, but advocate for us as well. Colleen is both passionate about what she does and compassionate toward all parties involved in the adoption process.Colleen’s paralegal, CharSalle (Charli) is an absolute treasure! Charli was readily available to answer questions by phone or by email. She would reach out to us if there was a birth mother interested in speaking or meeting with us after reviewing our profile. We were matched with a birth mother in November 2014, and our daughter was born in February 2015. Colleen and Charli guided us through the initial meetings with the birth parents, the open adoption agreements, and they stayed in touch with us by phone and email when our daughter was born. Our adoption was finalized in six months, and we couldn’t be more pleased with the level of communication we received, and continue to receive, from Colleen and Charli as well as the level of expertise and true passion they have for guiding families through the adoption process. We highly recommend Colleen, Charli, and the staff at Locke & Quinn to anyone considering adoption!!!!read more
Joe Ana
Joe Ana
16:35 15 Feb 16
kathleen cossaboon
kathleen cossaboon
01:35 31 May 18
Sharon Robertson Dewitt
Sharon Robertson Dewitt
19:20 23 Aug 17
My husband and I just recently finalized the adoption of our son thanks to Colleen! Our situation happened FAST, and Colleen never missed a beat. Colleen, Katie and Charli were all quick to answer any questions we had and made us feel confident in their ability to provide the services needed. We were blown away at the knowledge and organization Colleen had throughout this process as well! We intend to continue to grow our family through adoption again, and will be using Locke & Quinn!
Ashley Halsey
Ashley Halsey
2019-02-10T03:58:33+0000
My wife and I worked with Colleen Quinn and her paralegal Charli (CharSalle) on my daughter's international re-adoption. We are in Fairfax, VA and they were happy to work with us even though we weren’t local to them. Everything was done by email and mail. They answered all of our questions in a timely manner and were very knowledgeable about the process. We worked almost entirely with Charli after the initial emails and phone calls and she was great to work with. They filed all of our paperwork with our court, everything went smoothly, and we received our Final Order. Charli has always kept us in the loop about the process and sent us updates. We mailed original documents back and forth without any issue. Their legal fee was very competitive and better than most attorneys in our own area. We are very pleased with their work and assistance in getting our adoption finalized. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to anyone. Thank you!
Ahmed Rashid
Ahmed Rashid
2018-12-20T14:52:57+0000
Great experience!! Everything I needed they took care of with a timely fashion! Highly recommend!
Morgan Williams Seay
Morgan Williams Seay
2018-08-21T00:14:11+0000
Bob Stiepock
Bob Stiepock
2017-10-23T19:39:04+0000
Personal Injury is a challenging event on many levels in ones life. Have you experienced a moment where you were injured and need to seek legal advice? You need to make a call to Colleen Quinn today. I began to research different law firms that handled Personal Injury. I interviewed several attorneys and spoke with large practices to small firms. I was impressed by Colleens resume and her work with women and the law. I will never regret hiring Colleen and her TEAM. The word TEAM is exactly what I received through out my case. My case was attacked with professionalism and the team was always in communication with me. When I would call to ask questions or to get a better explanation I was always made to feel as if I was the only client. As my case arrived closer to the trail date, my TEAM went into full 110%+ effort and preparation. Colleen was ALWAYS seeking to settle my case with the best outcome that she could. YOU WILL NOT FIND A MORE UPFRONT, HONEST, HARDWORKING-GET IT DONE ATTITUDE THAN THE TEAM OF COLLEEN M. QUINN!! MAKE THAT CALL TODAY-YOU WONT REGET IT!!
Lisa Moore Walker
Lisa Moore Walker
2017-09-17T03:54:10+0000
Cathy Tyree Herb
Cathy Tyree Herb
2013-07-30T17:33:44+0000
RICHMOND: 804-285-6253
CONTACT US

Right to Work


Understanding the “Right to Work” in Virginia

 

What does it mean to live in a “right to work” state? Many employees confuse “right to work” with “right to a job,” and think that they cannot be fired without being given a reason  – but this is not the case. In actuality, “right to work” laws tend to benefit employers rather then employees, despite the name, and so it is important for both employers and employees working in the Commonwealth of Virginia to better understand the term.

 

What does “Right to Work” mean?

The term, “right to work” has nothing to do with an employee’s entitlement to his or her job. Instead, it references laws that have been passed in many U.S. states that prohibit union security agreements between companies and labor unions. In other words, employees in right to work states cannot be compelled to join a union or to pay union dues, but still may receive the benefits and protections of unions if they work in a unionized environment. This may sound like a protection for employees, since they cannot be forced to pay for union representation that they do not necessarily want. However, the practical effect of right to work laws is to make it harder for unions to exist, since they inevitably have less access to funding. Thus, individuals who support labor unions generally oppose right to work laws, while individuals who want their state to be more attractive to businesses and to employers (and to keep the costs of labor down) generally support right to work laws.

 

 Misconceptions:

Remember, right to work laws have to do with labor unions, not the individual rights of employees regarding their employment. So it is important to keep in mind that working in a right to work state like Virginia does NOT mean that:

  • You have the right to your job
  • Your employer has to provide you a reason for your termination.
  • You have the right to get your job back.
  • You have a legal case (“cause of action”) because you were terminated for no reason.

It is more important to know that Virginia is an “at will employment” state. That means that, unless you have an employment contract that says otherwise, your employer is free to end your employment without warning and without giving any reason. And you too have the right to leave your employment without warning and without giving any reason. Your employment is “at your will” and “at your employer’s will.” And as long as the termination of employment was not for an illegal or discriminatory reason, it does not have to be fair.

 

 What if I am under contract?

If you have an employment contract or agreement with your employer, then the terms of your employment, including the conditions under which you may be terminated, typically are governed by your employment contract. The fact that Virginia is a “right to work” or “at will employment” state is therefore unlikely to impact the terms of your employment.

 

 What if I work for the government?

Government employees may be subject to different rules and protections regarding discipline and termination, but those protections are unlikely to be affected by any right to work laws.

 

 Didn’t we vote in Virginia on this recently?

Yes! But the vote was not about whether or not Virginia should be a right to work state. By statute, Virginia has been a right to work state for several decades. However, in 2016, we voted on whether to incorporate a right to work amendment into our state constitution. The main difference between a statute and a constitutional amendment is that an amendment is more difficult to pass, and, correspondingly, much more difficult to change. The proposed 2016 amendment did not pass in Virginia, and so we remain a right to work state by statute only.

 

 What if I think my employment rights were violated?

As stated above, Virginia does not provide a legal remedy for the simple reason that you were terminated. However, there are numerous federal and state laws that do protect employees from being wrongly terminated for whistleblowing or engaging in protected activity or based on illegal discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation. In addition, employees should be aware of their rights when negotiating severance agreements or seeking unemployment. At Locke and Quinn, we have experience in a variety of employment matters. Please contact our office with any further inquiries about these services.

I worked with Richard Locke over the past year and a half. During that time, he provided me with counsel that was intelligent, balanced and trustworthy. He was respectful of the difficulty of the situation, and provided an educated and thoughtful approach to the process. Rather than focus on the drama and minutiae of the case, Richard was driven to provide favorable legal results in the most positive way possible. In many ways, his demeanor helped to keep me focused and calm throughout the process. He combines a superior knowledge of the law with a wealth of experience inside and outside of the courtroom. This knowledge and experience was incredibly valuable as my case progressed to help steer its direction and my decisions. His office staff is very responsive, and a pleasure to work with as well.read more
Amy Johnson
Amy Johnson
18:39 18 May 18
My wife and I adopted a babygirl in 2015. A friend of mine, whose daughter is lawyer, recommended Colleen Quinn. We went for our initial consultation and we could tell immediately that Colleen was very knowledgeable and professional. She went into detail and gave us the costs associated with the adoption as well as every single step in the process. Colleen is very welcoming and easy to talk to. We cannot leave this review without mentioning our primary contact, Colleen's paralegal, CharSalle Charles (Charli). Without Charli, I don't think we would have made it through the adoption. Charli was there anytime we called to answer our questions and to provide support for us. Charli even came to the hospital the day after our daughter was born, to handle all the paperwork between us and the birth mother. We truly thank Locke and Quinn and especially Charli for their hard work and support. Our adoption was even finalized a month in advance of the initial date set forth. We highly recommend Locke and Quinn to any looking to adopt!!!read more
Tierre Christmas
Tierre Christmas
17:23 09 Feb 16
After doing quite a bit of research on the adoption process, we decided to set up an initial consultation with Colleen, and we found that first session very beneficial and informative. There were many things that impressed us about Colleen from the very beginning: her level of expertise and reputation as an adoption attorney, the accolades she's received throughout her career, her friendly and personable nature, and her willingness to provide us with comprehensive information about the adoption process including projected fees. We also wanted to make sure that we were being well represented and advocated for, and quickly knew that Colleen would not only guide us through the adoption process, but advocate for us as well. Colleen is both passionate about what she does and compassionate toward all parties involved in the adoption process.Colleen’s paralegal, CharSalle (Charli) is an absolute treasure! Charli was readily available to answer questions by phone or by email. She would reach out to us if there was a birth mother interested in speaking or meeting with us after reviewing our profile. We were matched with a birth mother in November 2014, and our daughter was born in February 2015. Colleen and Charli guided us through the initial meetings with the birth parents, the open adoption agreements, and they stayed in touch with us by phone and email when our daughter was born. Our adoption was finalized in six months, and we couldn’t be more pleased with the level of communication we received, and continue to receive, from Colleen and Charli as well as the level of expertise and true passion they have for guiding families through the adoption process. We highly recommend Colleen, Charli, and the staff at Locke & Quinn to anyone considering adoption!!!!read more
Joe Ana
Joe Ana
16:35 15 Feb 16
kathleen cossaboon
kathleen cossaboon
01:35 31 May 18
Sharon Robertson Dewitt
Sharon Robertson Dewitt
19:20 23 Aug 17
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