Thomsen Holman Wheiler, PLLC, is your Idaho Falls attorney for help.
Employment Law in Idaho Falls and all of Idaho is necessary because Idaho is an “employment at will” state. This means that, generally speaking, an employee can be discharged by his or her employer at any time for any reason, and the employer will incur no legal liability. By the same token, an employee can quit his or her employment at any time, for any reason, without incurring legal liability, even if this means leaving his or her employer in a real bind. This is all part of our underlying freedom of association. (“Employment at will” is not to be confused with “right to work.” Idaho is also a “right to work” state, but this just means that an employee cannot be forced to join a union in order to work for a given employer.)
Although employment at will is the law of Idaho (and most other states), there are numerous important exceptions. For example, an employee cannot be fired or demoted, nor can an employer refuse to hire someone, for a reason which is discriminatory. Federal law, including Idaho law prohibit discrimination in employment on the basis of race, gender, religion, national origin, age and disability. Under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act for example, if you are over 40 years of age, your employer cannot fire you or demote you, and then replace you with someone substantially younger, simply because you are too old. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, if you have a hearing, vision, speech or other impairment, an employer cannot fire you, fail to promote you or refuse to hire you simply because of that impairment. The employer is required to provide you with a reasonable accommodation if possible.
The Idaho Supreme Court has decided that employers cannot fire an employee for reasons which violate public policy. For example, if you are injured on the job and file a worker’s compensation claim, you cannot be fired for doing this. If you “blow the whistle” on an employer’s illegal conduct, you cannot be fired for doing this either.
The Idaho Supreme Court has also stated that each employment contract contains an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. If your employer fires you for taking sick leave or vacation time to which you are entitled, then this may be a breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. If your employer fires you shortly before your retirement benefits vest, simply in order for the employer to keep your retirement benefits for himself, then this could be a breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.
Thus, even though law Idaho is an employee at will state, each employee has aright to fair treatment and to be free from discrimination. If you feel that you have been discriminated against in your employment, you should contact an employment lawyer in Idaho, THW Law Idaho Falls, to discuss your rights.