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Can I Get Fired for Self-Defense?

If you work somewhere like a jewelry store, convenience store, bank, or anywhere else that deals in large amounts of cash or valuable items, you may think about how you would handle yourself in the event of a robbery or even an armed robbery. Your employer may provide closed circuit cameras, special alarm buttons, time-locked safes for cash, or simply a gun under the counter for security.

But what happens if you have to use it? Most states, including West Virginia, are "at-will" employment states. That means you can be terminated at any time for any reason, and you can walk away from your position at any moment, for any reason. However, many states, including West Virginia, protect employees for being fired for certain reasons, among them age, race, sexual orientation, religion, and some other well-known criteria.

In some states, the right to self-defense does not extend to the workplace. So although you may not be criminally liable for acts of self-defense in your workplace, you may still be held liable for civil damages. West Virginia, the Supreme Court has ruled many times that the right to self-defense not only includes your home but extends to your place of employment as well. This includes self-defense that involves taking the life of the assailant.

If you have been the target of workplace harassment, discrimination or unfair termination, Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn, L.C. represents clients in federal court and before the EEOC, MSPB and in state and union grievance hearings.

Our attorneys have more than 35 years dedicated to giving clients the attention, advice, support and empowerment they need to effectively meet their goals. We are committed to the principle that all persons shall have equal justice under the law. Call Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn, L.C. at 304.523.8451 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.

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