What You Need to Know About At-Will Employment in Georgia
At-will employment states allow employers to fire their employees at any time for almost any reason. Here’s everything you need to know about at-will employment in Georgia.
In Georgia, an employer can fire an employee at will. However, Georgia prohibits employers from firing employees on the basis of discrimination. The law also allows employees to resign at any time for any reason.
What is At-Will Employment in Georgia?
In Georgia, most employees are considered at-will workers. They work at the will of their employer, who can fire them without notice. As a result, employers may fire workers without notice for almost any reason.
Worker Protection in Georgia
Although employers may fire their workers at any time in Georgia, federal law still protects workers. Employees may not discriminate against their employers. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from firing employees on the basis of race, religion, sex, national origin, or disability.
Georgia law also prohibits employers from firing workers on the basis of opposing unlawful employment practices. For example, if a Georgia worker recognizes discrimination in the workplace and files a complaint, their employer may not fire them for doing so.
Filing for Discrimination in Georgia
If a Georgia employee believes their employer fired them on the basis of discrimination, they can file a discrimination charge with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
An employee must file a charge within 180 days from the day an employer wrongfully fired an employee.
After receiving the file to charge, the EEOC will provide applicants with a Notice of Right to Sue. Individuals must file their lawsuit within 90 days of receiving this notice.
Breaching Employment Contracts in Georgia
Some employers give their employees contracts upon hiring them, which outline a length of employment. If an employer fires an employee before this length of time ends, an employee may be able to file a breach of contract lawsuit.
Resignation From an At-Will Position in Georgia
Employers cannot fire at-will workers at any time; employees may resign at any time. Georgia law does not require employees to give a reason for resignation. Georgia does not require employees to provide notice for resignation, although a two-week notice is considered a professional standard.
FAQs About At-Will Employment in Georgia
Will my employer have to pay compensation if they fire me on the basis of discrimination in Georgia?
Employees who file a discrimination charge with the EEOC may be entitled to compensation. The EEOC will first investigate to determine if discrimination may be present. If the EEOC finds evidence of discrimination, they will issue an employee a Notice of Right to Sue. Employees can use this notice to file a lawsuit against their employer and attempt to earn compensation in court.
Can I be fired for joining a union in Georgia?
Federal law protects unions. Employers may not fire or threaten to fire employees for engaging with labor unions. Similarly, federal law prohibits employers from firing employees for filing unfair labor practice charges. Georgia is a right-to-work state, so employees are not required to join a union. Union members may not fire or attempt to jeopardize a non-union member’s position if they choose not to join a union.
How can a lawyer help me with at-will employment in Georgia?
An experienced attorney can help their client determine if an employer fired them on the basis of discrimination. They can help their clients file a discrimination charge and advocate for them in court.