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Will ‘You’re Fired’ cover it?

In this pink-slip nervous economy, employees may wonder anew how much notice they can expect before being escorted out the door.

Not much, according to a new decision from Alexandria federal court.

Hourly employee Mauricio Calquin sued his former employer, Doodycalls Fairfax, for violating overtime pay laws. Calquin also tacked on a state-law claim for termination without prior reasonable notice.

Alexandria U.S. District Court Anthony Trenga said the Supreme Court of Virginia has not decided whether “reasonable notice” means “advance” notice, and state and federal courts have differed on interpretations of “reasonable notice.”

Under Virginia law, the judge wrote, “’reasonable notice’ requires that the manner and quality of the notice of termination must effectively communicate the fact of the termination.”

To require advance notice “would impose restrictions on at-will employment that contradict the very nature of the at-will doctrine,” the judge said in his Sept. 11 decision in Calquin v. Doodycalls Fairfax VA Inc.

In Calquin’s case, a directive that he “leave the premises” met the reasonable notice test.
By Deborah Elkins

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