RIGHT TO WORK LAWS IN VIRGINIA 150 150 Lauren Ellerman

I was picking up a package at our local Fed Ex warehouse the other day and saw this very stunning poster on the waiting room bulletin board.

I love it. No really. LOVE IT. Why?

Because it is so entirely misleading.

It says — IF YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO WORK in bold letters. While I think this means only those who are here legally have the right to work, I remain unclear as to the poster’s purpose.

Then in small letters, it says you have a right to work free from discrimination for your national origin or citizenship status. AND, if you are not yet a citizen but can work here legally (ie – papers) you can’t be fired for being a non-citizen.

Now. Why do I hate this poster so much?

Because it fuels the flame so to speak, that “RIGHT TO WORK” actually has something to do with being fired, or having a non-compete. Now, I admit the poster doesn’t say that but it uses the phrase RIGHT TO WORK in big old bold letters, while explaining some small aspect of federal discrimination law in small print.

Bottom line.

“RIGHT TO WORK” in Virginia means you can’t be forced to join a union.
RIGHT TO WORK on this poster means if you have legal work papers, you can’t be fired simply because you are not a citizen or are from another country.

There are no laws in Virginia, state or Federal, that prevent an employer from suing you if you work for a competitor, breach your non-compete, take customer lists etc. Even if you are fired, you don’t really have a “right to look for work and take whatever job is offered.”

Please read the fine print. PLEASE.

About the author

Lauren Ellerman

In 2011, Lauren Ellerman was named "Young Lawyer of the Year" by the Roanoke Bar Association for her work in the community. To speak with Lauren about your personal injury case, contact her at lellerman@frithlawfirm.com.

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