Pennsylvania is an at-will employment state, and this has implications in terms of how and when your boss may terminate your employment. If you feel as if your employer may have wrongfully terminated you and broken state laws in doing so, you may be able to hold him or her accountable. The strength of your case depends on whether your employer’s actions do, in fact, constitute wrongful termination.
What does the at-will employment concept Pennsylvania recognizes actually mean, and how might you know if you were unlawfully fired?
Understanding at-will employment
Per the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, being an at-will employee means that your employer may fire you at any time, and for almost any reason. However, there are some exceptions. If you have an employment contract in place that has a specific duration, your employer may not fire you until the contract term ends. Yet, again, there are a few specific and rare exceptions. The other exception to the at-will employment doctrine is that your employer may not fire you for a reason that violates one of your protected rights.
Recognizing wrongful termination
Your employer may not terminate your employment because of your race or religious or sexual preferences. He or she also may not end your employment because of your age or nationality, or because you have a disability. Furthermore, if your employer maintains a large enough staff, it may have to give you 60 days’ notice before terminating your employment.
These are some examples of what may constitute wrongful termination by your employer. However, this is not an exhaustive list of all scenarios that may fall under the wrongful termination umbrella.