Georgia is a work-at-will state, according to the common law doctrine of “employment at will.” That means that your employment is terminable at will by your employer, unless you have a contract for a definite term of employment or one that spells out limits for reasons for termination. In other words, you can get fired at any time and for any reason. According to wrongfulterminationlaws.com, there are some exceptions to the at-will rule in Georgia: If your employer fires you for discriminatory reasons, in violation of an employment contract, or in retaliation for exercising your rights, for example, you may have a legal claim against your employer for wrongful termination.
Federal law prohibits employers from firing employees based on race, color, national origin, sex, pregnancy, religion, age (if the employee is at least 40), disability, citizenship status, or genetic information. For most types of discrimination, employers with at least 15 employees must comply with these laws.
Georgia law prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex (for wage discrimination claims only), disability, and age (40 to 70 only). Georgia employers with at least 15 employees must comply with most of these laws; employees with at least ten employees must comply with the law prohibiting sex-based wage discrimination.
Breach of Contract
If you have an employment contract promising you job security, you may not be an at-will employee. In Georgia, an employment contract may be written, oral, or implied.
Wages and Hours
The minimum wage in Georgia is $7.25/hour. Georgia doesn’t have its own overtime laws, and Georgia employers are not required to provide meal or rest breaks. However, under federal law, it is illegal for employers to fire employees for exercising their rights under federal wage and hour laws.
Under both state and federal laws, employers may not fire workers for exercising the right to take time off work for certain civic obligations and personal responsibilities. In Georgia, these rights include military leave, jury duty, family and medical leave.
If you have questions about your termination from your job, call on an experienced employment attorney to ensure that your legal rights are protected and that you receive the compensation you deserve. For more than 32 years Murphy & Garner has represented workers in western Georgia and throughout the state. For a free consultation, call 866-942-0552 or 678-563-1584.