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Former jockey fired by West Virginia Racing Commission

When a state has "at-will" employment, it means that an employer can fire an employee without giving a reason, as long as a person isn't fired for an illegal reason. West Virginia is one of those states.

One recent dismissal is getting a good deal of media attention. Larry Dupuy, a Charles Town Racing Hall of Fame inductee, was suddenly fired this month by the West Virginia Racing Commission from his steward job. The action occurred during a brief emergency meeting of the commission held via a conference call.

The 63-year-old former jockey, who retired from the sport in 2000, says that he was given no reason for his dismissal from his job, which involved ensuring that the commission's rules were followed. When asked about why Dupuy was fired, the chairman of the commission said, "He's an at-will employee, and that's the primary reason." He told the press, "The matter taken up today at the Racing Commission meeting is a personnel matter about which I am unable to comment other than what occurred at the Commission's public meeting today." The vote by the three racing commissioners was two-to-one in favor of dismissing Dupuy.

Dupuy, who was on the conference call, said, "I know I'm an at-will employee but I thought there was a process." A West Virginia state senator who was on the conference call said that no reason was given for the action. He said, "I was going to ask a question, but they muted me."

While West Virginia, like a number of other states, allows "at-will" employment, there are reasons for terminating an employee that are against the law. If you believe that you were terminated illegally, it's wise to consult an experienced employment attorney.

Source: MetroNews, "Hall of fame jockey is fired from steward job, but no one says why," Brad McElhinny, Sep. 01, 2017

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