Nevada is one of many states considered an at-will employment state. This basically gives employers in Nevada the right to fire an employee at any time and for any reason, or for no reason at all, without opening their company up to liability. Employees are also afforded this same entitlement in an at-will state. They can resign from employment at any time and for any reason, or for no reason at all. Neither party is required to give the other party notice or a reason for their termination or resignation.
Even though an at-will employment state provides employers and employees the right to terminate their employment relationship for no reason and at any time, there are a few exceptions that are recognized by Nevada. The first exception is for a contract between employer and employee, whether it was written, oral, or simply implied. If a contractual relationship for employment exists, an employer is no longer allowed to fire an employee whenever they want or for whatever reason they want or they can open their company up to litigation on the basis of a wrongful discharge. This exception can also stem from an employee handbook or from a personnel manual given to the employee.
Another exception recognized by Nevada is when the termination of an employee violates some aspect of Nevada public policy. A few examples of this exception include when an employer fires an employee for filing a claim through workers' compensation, for missing work when called for jury duty, or for refusing the employer's request or demand to break the law. All of these situations can provide grounds for filing a tortious discharge action against a Nevada employer.
Although there are no specific federal wrongful termination laws, there are federal laws in place that protect employees from wrongful termination based on discrimination and various labor issues. Firing an employee for one of the following types of discrimination falls under the protection of federal law:
- Protests regarding discrimination
There are several other federal laws that provide protection for employees against wrongful termination. The Bankruptcy Act prohibits employers from firing an employee due to unpaid debts or filing a bankruptcy action. It is also against federal law to fire an employee for exercising their right to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for pregnancy, the birth of a child, or another related medical condition under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Union employees are protected from being fired for actively engaging in union activities.
Federal laws also cover wrongful termination with regard to retaliation against employees deemed as whistleblowers. Employees that report health violations, safety violations, illegal conduct, or corporate fraud to the appropriate authorities are protected under the Sarbane-Oxley Act, as well as numerous occupational safety laws and environmental laws.
If you believe you are the victim of wrongful termination, even though Nevada is an at-will employment state, you need to speak with an attorney familiar with wrongful termination laws in both Nevada and on the federal level. The attorneys at Ace Law Group are proficient in handling all types of wrongful termination cases. Set up a consultation today to find out if your rights as an employee in an at-will state have been violated.