Wrongful Termination in Erie, PA
What Is Wrongful Termination?
Any employer has discretion over the hiring and firing of employees. Still, there are certain circumstances where a worker can file for wrongful termination. Termination becomes wrongful when it violates Pennsylvania law, federal law, or an employment agreement. Being fired from a job is never easy. A dedicated wrongful termination lawyer understands your rights as an employee and will fight to protect them.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, Pennsylvania recognizes the at-will employment doctrine. If you live in Erie, this means that you can suffer termination from your job for any reason. However, that reason cannot be discriminatory, violate an existing contract, or violate a collective bargaining agreement. Additionally, Pennsylvania courts recognize the public policy, implied contract, and covenant of good faith & fair dealing exceptions to at-will employment.
Types Of Wrongful Termination
In Erie, there are many different instances where wrongful termination can take place. In some cases, an employer is ignorant of labor laws and may not even realize they have erred. This is why big corporations rely on human resources experts. You should always turn to an attorney if you suspect you have been wrongfully terminated. In the following paragraphs are some of the red flags that you should watch out for.
Limitations of At-Will Employment
Because one of the most common forms of employment is at-will, there are limitations to this. At-will employment doesn’t allow an employer to fire a person for any discriminatory reason. State, federal, or local Erie laws prohibit these reasons.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Pennsylvania does not have right-to-work legislation. Consequently, an Erie employer and union can negotiate a collective agreement that requires an Erie employee to pay union dues as a condition of employment.
An employer also can’t fire an employee as a form of retaliation for reporting any illegal activities within the company. Did you lose your job for any of these reasons? If so, you may be able to file a wrongful termination lawsuit against your employer.
Discrimination is one of the most common forms of wrongful termination. When an employee is fired because of their race, religion, sex, national origin, ethnicity, pregnancy, age, or disability, it violates established laws meant to protect specific personal characteristics. There are also some states that prohibit employers from discriminating based on the gender identity or the sexual orientation of their employees.
If you believe that you have been penalized or fired in Erie for one of these discriminatory reasons listed above, you may be able to file a claim with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. An experienced Erie, PA attorney can walk you through the process to help ensure the best possible outcome.
Your employer can’t fire you for certain protected activities. For example, your employer can’t fire you for taking medical leave, or for participating in an investigation of job violations and wage violations. Additionally, filing a complaint with the EEOC, or informing your employer about discrimination or harassment, are not fireable offenses.
Pennsylvania’s Whistleblower Law protects Erie public-sector employees who make good faith reports about unlawful or wasteful actions. Consequently, a public-sector employer in Erie cannot discharge, threaten, or retaliate against an employee for doing so. This law also covers those who work for the General Assembly, as well as nonprofits and private companies that receive public money.
There are some states that also prevent employee termination for taking time off to vote, perform jury duties, or serve in the military. You also have some protection if your employer has fired you for reporting a violation of safety laws or environmental regulations.
What To Do If You’ve Been Wrongfully Terminated In Erie, Pennsylvania
Have you been through a wrongful termination? You may be entitled to compensatory damages, reinstatement, back pay, and other forms of relief. However, the exact definition of wrongful termination will depend on where you live. To find out, contact a dedicated and qualified wrongful termination lawyer. Discuss your circumstances and the laws that your employer has to follow in your area.
Remember that there are usually time constraints on how long you can wait to file your claim, so don’t delay. This could cause evidence to slip through your fingers or you may miss the deadline altogether. You want a favorable outcome and so will your lawyer, so try to approach your case as proactively as possible, even before you are certain you have one.
According to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC), the statute of limitations on filing an employment discrimination complaint is 180 days. If you live in Erie, this means you only have 180 days from the date of the discriminatory act to file a complaint with the PHRC. However, the PHRC may increase this deadline if you are able to prove that you are legally justified in not filing within this period.
Step One: Gather Evidence
It’s important to start gathering all the evidence you can, no matter how small. Ideally, you had reason to suspect that your employer might terminate you wrongfully and started the process some time before. If you need to return to the office to clear out your desk or still have access to the work email, use the opportunity wisely. However, be mindful of any employment agreements or confidentiality issues.
Step Two: Find an Attorney
Hiring an experienced Erie, PA wrongful termination lawyer will help you take the first steps so that you make a strong case to get the outcome you seek. Erie employment laws are intricate and are constantly changing. Therefore, you should always work with an attorney who focuses on this specific area.
Step Three: File a Complaint
If you have not yet had your case reviewed by an attorney, the EEOC built a self-evaluation tool to help you decide if filing a claim with them is an appropriate way to handle your case. An attorney simplifies this part of the process by helping you to write the complaint. You serve your employer notice. Then, the resolution process starts there. Note that not all cases make it to a courtroom as some employers prefer to settle.
As an Erie employee, you have the right to file a complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC). Your first step is to fill out a PHRC Complaint Form. The PHRC also provides step-by-step instructions for filing a complaint in Erie. To preserve your claim under federal law, you can file with the Pittsburgh Area Office of the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Why You Should Hire a Wrongful Termination Lawyer in Erie, Pennsylvania
Filing a wrongful termination lawsuit in Erie, Pennsylvania can be overwhelming, especially if you’ve been treated unfairly by your employer. Speaking to an experienced lawyer can help you to understand what legal rights you have as a victim and if your case is applicable for wrongful termination. For some people, the opportunity to finally tell their story also helps to ease the burden they’ve been carrying.
We understand that finding the right attorney can be hard. This is why we created our service to connect clients in need with experienced attorneys. To match with the right lawyer, you simply provide your location, category, and some other additional information. We then send you your options as soon as they are available.
Our company charges no fees to connect you with the legal services you need. Some Erie attorneys or practice areas may require legal fees upfront, but there are many that do not. Some professionals may not charge a single penny at all until they win your case.
Are you ready to find a qualified Erie attorney who can help you fight for your job or get justice for the wrongful termination you suffered?
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