Happy Labor Day! Not a good time to think about wrongful termination or is it?
We hope that you enjoyed your holiday weekend and nothing brought you down. But what if you were wrongfully terminated?
Wrongful dismissal or termination, in general, is when an employer fires an employee for nothing related to his job responsibilities or work performance, violates terms of the contract of employment or any provision or rule in employment law. Although many of us think that they have been terminated illegally, almost in all states (including Pennsylvania) employment is considered to be “at-will” which means that free to terminate your employment at any time, for any reason or for no particular reason at all. The exception, though, is when an employee is fired for illegal reasons or in violation of an employment contract.
In fact, wrongful termination exists in a limited number of situations. The most common are:
1. Retaliation. If you noticed wrongful activities at work and reported them, and if you were fired in response, then you might have a claim for wrongful dismissal based on unlawful retaliation.
2. Discrimination. If you are able to prove that your termination was prompted by racial intolerance or a culture of sexism, national origin, religion, disability, age, then you might have a claim for wrongful termination. Employees with these characteristics are protected both federally and under state laws.
3. Contract violation. Including company policy, employee handbooks, discharge procedures.
4. Refuse to act illegally. If you believe that your boss wanted to make you violate safety instructions, participate in fraud, work over clock without extra pay etc. you have a very good reason to file a claim.
5. Collective employment agreement. You cannot be fired for discussing work conditions or wages with other members of staff. You don’t have to be a member of a union to be protected under this federal law.
The truth is that it is really hard to understand whether you were fired illegally or not. And it is only up to you whether to forget about it and try to move forward or to look into that, contact employment attorneys, get professional help and realize that you have all chances to protect your rights.