Wrongful Termination or Wrongful Discharge
If you have been laid off or fired recently, and believe that you may have lost your job for an unlawful reason you may have a right to bring a claim for wrongful termination against your former employer.
The term "wrongful termination" means that an employer has fired or laid off an employee for illegal reasons which include, but are not limited to:
- Firing in violation of federal and state anti-discrimination laws
- Firing as a form of sexual harassment
- Firing instead of offering FMLA leave
- Firing to avoid paying workers’ compensation
- Firing in retaliation for requesting FMLA leave
- Firing in retaliation for seeking workers’ compensation
- Firing in retaliation for the employee’s having filed a complaint against a co-worker or employer
- Firing in retaliation for opposing an unfair employment practice such as workplace discrimination
- Firing in retaliation for reporting a violation of any law when the employee has a statutorily imposed duty to do so or "whistleblowing"
- Firing in violation of oral and written employment agreements
- Firing in violation of labor laws, including collective bargaining laws
Legal remedies that may be available to you include money damages and, if you have not been officially released, negotiation for an appropriate severance package that includes adequate compensation.
If I am an "at-will" employee, can my employer fire me without a cause?
Pennsylvania, like most states, has adopted the doctrine of "at-will" employment. "At-will employment" simply means that an employee works for a company only so long as both employee and the company are willing to continue the relationship. "At-will" employment includes all jobs where the employee’s employment is not governed by the terms of a union’s collective bargaining agreement and where the employee does not have an enforceable employment contract.
"At-will" employers can terminate employment for any legal reason or no reason at all. However, even if employment is considered "at-will," an employer cannot terminate your employment for the illegal reasons listed above.
Some violations carry statutory penalties, while others will result in the employer's payment of damages based on the terminated employee's lost wages and other expenses. Certain wrongful termination cases may raise the possibility that the employer pay punitive damages to the terminated employee, while other cases may carry the prospect of holding more than one wrongdoer responsible for damages.
At the Waldman Law Group, we represent individuals who have experienced a wrongful discharge or a wrongful termination, whether they are "at-will" employees or employees who had an employment contract.
The attorneys at Waldman Law Group, P.C. will evaluate your lay off or termination for discrimination, retaliation or unfair treatment. We recognize that employers have been known to use a layoff as a means of illegal employment discrimination against certain employees. For example, a manager may target employees on FMLA or pregnancy leave in a layoff, wrongly thinking that since they are not working, they should be laid off first; or may lay off a disabled person who needed accommodation to avoid having to provide that accommodation.
If you feel your employer has wrongfully terminated your employment, contact an attorney at Waldman Law Group, P.C. by telephone or the contact sheet to schedule a consultation to ensure that your legal rights are properly pursued with the assistance of sound legal counsel.
What is a WARN Act Violation?
The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act ("WARN Act") is a United States labor law which requires most employers with 100 or more employees to provide 60 calendar-day advance notification of plant closings and mass layoffs of employees or relocation of job duty to an overseas location.
Employees entitled to notice under the WARN Act include managers and supervisors, hourly wage and salaried workers. The WARN Act requires that notice also be given to employees' representatives (i.e. a labor union), the local chief elected official (i.e. the mayor) and the state dislocated worker unit.
This advance notice is intended to protect workers by giving workers and their families transition time to adjust to the prospective loss of employment, to seek and obtain other employment, and, if necessary, to enter skill training or re-training programs that will allow these workers to successfully compete in the job market. Even if your former employer has filed bankruptcy either before or after the layoffs, you still do have rights. In fact, WARN Act claims take priority over other creditors’ debts in bankruptcy court. If you were laid off, or if your job was outsourced to another country, you have rights.
You may still have rights if you received a WARN Act notice. The notice needs to provide very specific information. Employers often justify violating the notice requirements by claiming that the WARN Act notification requirements did not apply because of certain business considerations such as they thought business would pick up or that they were seeking financing and failed to obtain it.
If you are uncertain about your rights regarding being laid off as part of a plant closing, mass layoff or company overseas relocation, contact Waldman Law Group, P.C. You can also fill out the form on our contact us page.