Wrongful Termination in Pennsylvania

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Wrongful Termination in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania follows at-will employment law. This means that absent an employment contract, the relationship between employer and employee are at-will. In such a relationship, the employer or the employee can legally terminate the employment at any time and for any reason, so long as the firing is not illegal. Therefore, proving wrongful termination in Pennsylvania can sometimes be difficult

Even when the employment is based on a contract between the employer and the worker, the employment may still be at-will. Depending on whether the employment contract states the terms for termination, then the employee or the employer may be held liable if they violate the contract terms. If no contract exists between the parties, then Pennsylvania employment authorities will presume that the employment is at-will.

Public Policy Violations as Grounds for Wrongful Termination

Like many other states, Pennsylvania wrongful termination or wrongful discharge may be based on a public policy violation. That is, even if the employment is considered to be at-will, an employer may not terminate the employee if the firing violates public policy principles. Some examples include:

For example, assume that a Pennsylvania employer requested that their worker file a false tax report. Suppose that the employee refused to file the false report, because it is a crime, and that the employer then fired them for not filing the report. This would be considered wrongful termination that is based on a public policy violation.

However, the employee would need to prove that the termination violated a public policy that is clearly articulated in the Constitution, in Pennsylvania legislation, or in Pennsylvania judicial decisions. It is not enough for the employee to prove that their employer simply acted unfairly.

Unlike other states, Pennsylvania has extended this public policy exception to include other types of violations, such as when an employee is fired for taking jury duty, for refusing to serve alcohol to an intoxicated customer, or for properly following procedures for handling hazardous materials.

Remedies for Wrongful Termination

A successful wrongful termination claim can result in several remedies for the employer, including reinstatement to their job as well as back pay.

Consulting an Attorney

An experienced Pennsylvania lawyer can help you determine whether there is a legal basis for a claim. He can help you navigate the court system, represent you in court, and help you obtain the damages that you deserve.

Consult a Lawyer - Present Your Case Now!
Last Modified: 09-19-2014 04:03 PM PDT

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