Getting fired may incite numerous emotions: shame, fear, anger and worry. With all these feelings occurring, it may be easy to assume that your employer had a legitimate reason for terminating your employment. However, there are countless examples of employers firing individuals unethically and illegally. 

There are numerous situations that may qualify as wrongful termination. Understanding the signs could help you know whether you have any legal recourse after losing your job. 

Types of wrongful termination 

It may be easy to assume that a wrongful termination is the same as a termination without cause, but that is not always the case. Under the law, your employer may legally terminate your employment for a variety of reasons. The illegal reasons for termination include discrimination and retaliation. 

For example, if your employer fired you because of your race, sexual orientation or gender, that would qualify as wrongful termination. It is also illegal for a company to fire you in retaliation for you assisting in an investigation or reporting illegal conduct. 

Wrongful termination and “at will” employment 

The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development indicates that the state’s labor laws include “at will” employment. This means that an employer may fire you at any time with or without a reason as long as you are not working under a contract that states otherwise. 

However, it is still illegal for an employer to fire you for unlawful reasons, such as discrimination. According to the Pennsylvania DCED, an employer may not fire you because of your race, sex, religion, age, nationality or disability. If you feel that you received a wrongful termination, you may contact the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission to learn about discrimination laws and file a complaint.