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Virginia Right to Work Laws

In the mid 1940's, many states enacted right-to-work laws prohibiting forced union membership and payment of forced union dues as a condition of employment. Specifically, these laws state that employment may not be denied on the basis of one's union membership.

Several prominent figures throughout history have spoken out against right-to-work laws including the famed Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa and civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

Is Virginia A Right-To-Work State?

Yes, Virginia is a right-to-work state. The Commonwealth is similar to other states with such laws, with criminal and civil penalties for noncompliance.

At-Will Employment

Virginia is also an at-will employment state which means employers can let go of employees at will, without reason or notice. One exception to this law is if you have an employment contract.
The employee is equally free to quit, strike, or otherwise cease working. This is the heart of employment law in Virginia, and the subject of most disputes. Usually, a case for wrongful discharge will arise from a violation of the at-will employment limitations and not so much a violation of the right-to-work laws.

What Agency Should I Contact If I Believe An Employer Is Violating The Law?

Contact the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry if you wish to file a complaint or report a business you believe is violating the Commonwealth's right-to-work or at-will employment laws.

Virginia's rights to work laws are briefly explained in the following table. See FAQs About Union Members' Rights to learn more.

Code Section 40.1-58, et seq.
Policy on Union Membership, Organization, etc. The right to work shall not be abridged or denied on account of membership or nonmembership in a labor union or organization.
Prohibited Activity Agreements between labor organization to deny nonmembers right to work or where membership is made condition of employment or where union acquires monopoly; requirement of membership, nonmembership, or payment of dues as condition of employment.
Penalties Damages sustained; agreements in violation are illegal and contrary to public policy; illegal conduct contrary to public policy; misdemeanor; injunctive relief.

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Virginia employment attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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Virginia Right to Work Laws: Related Resources

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