Fighting For Important Causes In State And Federal Courts
If your reports of an employer’s illegalities or your refusal to engage in illegal acts led to your employment dismissal, this employment termination might be “wrongful.” Employees dismissed or fired in Pennsylvania for unconstitutional and discriminatory reasons or after speaking up about an employer’s illegal actions may be able to file a civil lawsuit for wrongful termination. Pennsylvania recognizes wrongful termination lawsuits regardless of whether you have an employment contract or not. However, it only allows claims based on public policy interest. While the legal standard in these cases is narrowly defined on certain protected public interests, with the right legal representation you can obtain compensation for your losses as a result of the wrongful discharge.
At the law office of Andrew Shubin, clients have a supportive and knowledgeable team of dedicated lawyers who will fight for their rights. Attorney Andrew Shubin is known for his commitment to upholding the rights of employees whose legal protections are at stake, either because an employer tramples on those rights or acts on self-interests in firing an ethical employee. If you or someone you know was wrongfully dismissed or fired by his or her employer, contact our offices at (814) 826-3586.
Legal Compensation for Wrongful Termination in State College, Pennsylvania
Indefensible and unjustified actions characterize wrongful conduct. In legal terms, wrongful discharge is generally recognized under tort law. It is an injurious action of an employer who fires an employee in violation of a public or private interest, similar to retaliatory actions against whistleblowers. There are a wide variety of ways in which employees get fired for reporting abuses, illegal activities, and other protected acts. The difference here is that federal whistleblower protections are not viable against private employers. Whistleblower laws don’t apply to private corporations and different types of private institutions that do not receive federal funds.
It’s disheartening when employees who are not protected by federal whistleblower laws find themselves without legal recourse. However, Pennsylvania residents can rely on the jurisprudence of wrongful termination protection. A successful action for wrongful discharge requires the following elements:
- The employee’s conduct is protected by a clearly defined public policy
- Dismissing the employee would jeopardize or undermine public policy
- A causal link exists between the employee’s behavior and the discharge indicating that the termination relates to participating in protected activities.
Your attorney can explain in further detail how the elements above relate to your circumstances. A wrongfully terminated employee can seek financial recovery for lost wages and other recognized losses or injuries. Your financial compensation will depend on multiple factors, including:
- Lost wages
- Harm to your reputation
- Pain and suffering caused by the wrongful dismissal
Depending on your circumstances, your attorney can give you a more concrete sense about the types of damages for your injury available in your specific situation.
Public Policy Basis in Pennsylvania
Public policy is a course of action favored by society because it is supposed to benefit everyone. Pennsylvania generally recognizes wrongful termination when the discharge violates a public policy strictly defined by its jurisprudence. Jurisprudence consists of a body of court decisions evaluating situations and interpreting legal concepts accordingly. The legal concept of public policy exceptions is typically decided over time as cases reach the courts and questions of law create a precedent or legal standard.
There is a strong public policy in Pennsylvania against dismissals driven by illegal statutory violations or self-dealing motives. It is expressly prohibited to ask an employee to partake in a crime, then subsequently fire the employee upon refusal. Some of the public policy exceptions recognized by Pennsylvania courts include wrongful termination for:
- Filing a worker’s compensation claim
- Filing an unemployment compensation claim
- Refusing to submit to a polygraph test
- Serving on jury duty or other mandatory public functions
- Refusal to commit perjury
If your circumstances don’t appear to meet the standard, you should still look into your available options. Jurisprudence on public policy concepts tends to be organic in that it is frequently subject to judicial interpretation. Such interpretations are typically seen when there is judicial review of protected activities analogous to previously recognized wrongful discharge. Experienced lawyers can advocate by drawing sharp analogies with previous legal cases and telling your side the story effectively.
Wrongful Termination in Violation of Employment Contract
There are instances when wrongful termination can be substantiated in a contractual provision violation. A qualified attorney can review your contract to determine if there are possible causes of action you can pursue. Employment contracts typically contain legalese or convoluted legal terminology an attorney is best qualified to review.
Overcome Presumption of At-Will Employees and Independent Contractors
An at-will employee typically can be terminated at any time. Under Pennsylvania law, an at-will employee may be terminated for any cause –that is, “for a good reason, bad reason, or no reason at all.” Hershberger v. Jersey Shore Steel Co. (1990). This broad standard gives employers great discretion over termination decisions.
However, at-will employees who comply with a statutory duty cannot be subsequently terminated. This rule applies equally to independent contractors. An independent contractor may bring a wrongful termination claim on the grounds that their termination violated public policy.
Penn State Wrongful Termination Lawyers Fighting for Your Rights
The accomplished legal team at the law offices of Andrew Shubin understands the intricate concepts involved in actions for wrongful termination. They are known for providing quality legal advice and for their commitment to seeing the case through. To maximize your ability to seek financial compensation, we will accurately ascertain your losses. Moreover, you will not be responsible for legal fees unless we obtain a monetary award or a reasonable settlement. Call our offices at (814) 826-3586 to schedule a free and confidential consultation today.