PA: What’s Up With At-Will Employment? | Canon-McMillan.Patch.com | 6/27/12

Female worker in an H. J. Heinz can factory cr...

Female worker in an H. J. Heinz can factory crimping can ends onto cans using machinery. From the materials for the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition of 1909, held in Seattle. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Q: I was recently fired from my job, and I think the circumstances of my termination are unfair. Can I sue my former employer? Attorney Jesse White states:

Your rights after being let go from your job depend on whether you were what is known as an “at-will” employee.

Pennsylvania law presumes that all employment relationships are at-will, which means that either the employer or the employee can end the employment at any time and for any reason. The alternative to an at-will employment relationship is to be employed under the terms of a written or oral employment contract.

As an at-will employee, it is very difficult to sue an employer for firing you.  Pennsylvania law gives employers the discretion to terminate their at-will employees for good cause, not-so-good cause, or for no reason at all.

In most cases, a former at-will employee has no legal recourse for being fired.  However, in very specific and rare circumstances, a former at-will employee may have a viable claim for wrongful termination by proving that the circumstances of their termination violate an important public policy in Pennsylvania or if you were fired under discriminatory circumstances, you may have a right to sue your former employer under federal law such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits firing employees on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.

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About vinhsu

Center City Philadelphia General Practice Law Firm with emphasis on Criminal Defense, Family Law, Immigration, Real Property, and Wills/Trusts/ Estate Planning. Licensed in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
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