Almost all employees in Pennsylvania are At Will. This does not mean that you can be fired at any time for any reason. Unfortunately, employers do have the “upper hand” when dealing with employees, but this does not mean that employees don’t have any rights.
At Will Employment means that an employer can terminate an employee at any time for any reason at all, except an illegal one (one that violates State or Federal Law; usually related to discrimination), or for no reason without incurring legal liability. Likewise, an employee is free to leave a job at any time for any or no reason with no adverse legal consequences. This is why employees can leave a job and take a new job in the free market.
At Will Employment also means that an employer can change the terms of the employment relationship with no notice and no consequences. For example, an employer can alter wages, terminate benefits, or reduce paid time off. In its unadulterated form, the U.S. At Will Employment rule leaves employees vulnerable to arbitrary and sudden dismissal, a limited or on-call work schedule depending on the employer’s needs, and unannounced cuts in pay and benefits.
For instance, a good long standing employee under the At Will Employment rule can be terminated if they wear a pink shirt and the employer just does not like pink shirts anymore.
The most widely recognized common law exception to the At Will Employment presumption protects employees against adverse employment actions that violate a public interest. In some situations, Courts have found that if termination violates public policy, this small carve out permits an action for and At Will Employee.
One of the most common exceptions under public policy in Pennsylvania is where employers cannot fire you for filing a Workers’ Compensation action. If you were hurt on the job and are pursuing an action for Worker’s Comp or Workers’ Compensation, your employer cannot retaliate, and fire you for pursing a claim for being injured on the job. Shick v. Shirey 716 A.2D 1231 (Pa. 1998).
Being a Whistleblower also is an exception to the At Will Employment rule. If you work for the government, your employer takes governmental (State or Federal) funds, or your employer has governmental (State or Federal) grants, then you may be covered under Whistleblower laws.
As a Whistleblower, you are protected if you report wrongdoing to the government or a governmental agency (Police, FBI, or a Governing or Licensing Agency), your employer receives federal or state funds, and your employer retaliates against you or terminates you.
Just because you may be an at will employee, this does not mean that you don’t have a cause of action. you should call Robert Maizel to discuss your potential case to determine whether your specific issue falls under an exception. Only an experienced employment attorney can make this determination.
I am an experience employment lawyer who handles these matters regularly. Our team investigates your claim to secure all of the information to help obtain a positive resolution to your case. We know the law and we understand your needs. No matter what your question, please feel free to call us at 215-695-3000 to discuss your case. All consultations are free of charge.
Robert Maizel is an Experienced Trial Attorney in Philadelphia with over fifteen years of trial experience.
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Saffern & Weinberg has offices located in both Center City Philadelphia and Jenkintown, Pennsylvania. Attorney Robert Maizel is a Partner with the Law Offices of Saffren & Weinberg.
Robert Maizel is associated with, and is a Partner with the Law Firm of Saffren & Weinberg. Robert Maizel is not a Law Firm, and rather Robert Maizel is affiliated with the Law Firm of Saffren & Weinberg. All clients shall formulate an agreement with the Law Firm of Saffren & Weinberg, with the option of hiring Robert Maizel as lead counsel on your case to be heard in the State Courts of Pennsylvania, and Marc Weinberg as the lead counsel in cases to be heard in the Federal Courts of Pennsylvania. Mr. Maizel handles all actions in the Administrative Courts of Pennsylvania including the EEOC and PaHRC.
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