Wrongful Termination Attorney in Philadelphia2005 Market Street, Suite 350
Philadelphia, PA 19103
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Losing your job is a terrible thing to experience. Not only must you try to find new employment, but you’re also likely dealing with financial fallout—a reduced ability to pay rent, buy groceries, and meet your regular obligations. Even worse, your employer may have wrongfully terminated you.
Federal and state laws protect individuals from wrongful termination. These laws prevent an employer from firing an employee for specific reasons. If you can prove your job loss was illegal, you have grounds for a wrongful termination lawsuit.
Individuals living in Pennsylvania have access to an experienced wrongful termination lawyer in Philadelphia. Contact Morgan and Morgan to schedule your free consultation and discuss your legal options today.
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What Is Wrongful Termination?
Pennsylvania is considered an at-will employment state. Employment at will allows employers to fire an employee at any time for any reason.
However, there are exceptions to the at-will rule. Employers may not fire someone for discriminatory reasons, in violation of an employment contract, or in retaliation for exercising certain rights.
Firing for Discriminatory Reasons
Federal laws are in place to protect employees from discriminatory firing. The regulations discussed below prevent employers from firing employees based on discriminatory factors.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, along with its 2020 amendment, prohibits the firing of employees based on their race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
Individuals who believe they were wrongfully terminated based on discriminatory factors can file a complaint with the EEOC. Following the complaint, the organization will investigate the case and determine whether the individual has the right to sue.
If provided notice of the right to sue, the individual can begin a wrongful termination lawsuit against the company.
Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 protects people age 40 or older from wrongful termination. If a person believes an organization fired them because of their age, they can pursue a lawsuit against the company.
To begin the lawsuit process, the ex-employee must first file a complaint with the EEOC. However, in this case, the individual does not need to wait for a right to sue notice from the EEOC. They can file a lawsuit against the organization once their complaint with the EEOC has been open for 60 days.
Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 makes it illegal for an organization to fire someone due to pregnancy status. Thus, if a woman becomes pregnant, the company cannot arbitrarily fire her. Similarly, organizations cannot refuse to hire someone solely based on pregnancy status.
Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990
Organizations with 15 or more employees cannot discriminate against workers with a qualified disability. If you have a disability protected under the Act and your employer fired you for reasons you believe are related to your illness or impairment, you may be able to file a lawsuit for wrongful termination.
To begin the lawsuit process, you must first file a complaint with the EEOC. The EEOC will investigate your complaint. If the EEOC grants you a right to sue notice, you must file a lawsuit against the company within 90 days of receiving your notice.
Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008
The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 prevents employers from firing individuals based on their genetic information. For instance, an organization cannot fire someone because heart disease or cancer runs in their family.
Wrongful termination is illegal, but employees have rights. A wrongful termination lawyer in Philadelphia can assist you in determining whether you have a potential lawsuit against your employer.
What are Violations of the Employment Contract?
Some employers provide their employees with a written contract guaranteeing them their work. If you have an employment contract, you are not considered an at-will employee in Pennsylvania. Instead, you are protected by your employment contract.
Your contract does not have to be in writing. If an employer made an oral promise guaranteeing you work for a period of time, your termination might be considered wrongful by the court.
Sometimes, an employee handbook provides evidence of an employment contract. If your company’s handbook includes a provision relating to employment bargaining, it may be considered an implied contract.
For example, if you competed for a job and provided your company with something in return, like an investment or promise not to work for others, you have an employment contract.
How do you Exercising Your Rights?
All employees are entitled to certain rights. For example, an employee has a right to a 30-minute unpaid break after five hours of work in Pennsylvania. In addition, employees paid hourly wages are entitled to overtime if they work more than 40 hours per week.
Firing someone for taking their entitled break or requesting payment for hours worked past the regular 40-hour workweek is considered wrongful termination.
A company cannot fire an employee for enlisting with the armed forces, being called for duty as a reservist, or being drafted to the armed forces during a time of war.
Under federal and state law, organizations must provide an employee with unpaid military leave during their absence. Upon their return from duty, employers must reinstate them in their prior position (or a comparable one).
Any employee called for jury duty is entitled to unpaid leave during their service. Employers cannot threaten to fire an individual or reduce their position because of jury duty.
Jury duty laws apply to any organization with 15 or more employees in the service industry or those with 40 or more employees in the manufacturing sector.
Family and Medical Leave (FMLA)
Sometimes, an employee may need to take leave to recover from an illness or injury, pregnancy, or to care for a severely ill family member. Federal law guarantees 12 weeks of unpaid leave to individuals who qualify for FMLA. Any employer with 50 or more employees must comply with FMLA regulations.
Employees caring for a family member seriously injured during military duty are entitled to 26 weeks of unpaid leave. After the FMLA leave has ended, the company must reinstate the employee to their previous position.
Under Pennsylvania law, it’s illegal to fire an employee who files a workers’ compensation claim. If you believe your employer fired you for filing a workers’ compensation claim, a wrongful termination lawyer in Pennsylvania can investigate the incident and assist you in filing a lawsuit.
Similarly, if you believe the workplace violates safety standards, an employer cannot fire you for reporting the violations to management or state and federal agencies.
Employers cannot fire someone for reporting illegal activity. If the employee reports that the employer is engaged in unlawful actions, firing that employee can result in a wrongful termination lawsuit. A wrongful termination lawyer in Philadelphia can assist in determining whether you have been fired illegally for whistleblowing.
How Do You Prove Wrongful Termination?
To file a wrongful termination lawsuit, you’ll want to gather as much evidence as possible relating to your claim. Documents you should collect include:
- Proof of your employment
- Pay stubs
- Job evaluations
- Emails relating to your claim
- Witness statements from fellow current or former colleagues
- Notice of your termination
The more evidence you have, the better. Your wrongful termination lawyer in Philadelphia will investigate your case and obtain the appropriate documentation.
It’s helpful to write down a timeline of the events that happened before your termination. Begin with the date you initially interviewed to become an employee and continue until the date you were fired.
Include all of the information that relates to your claim for wrongful termination. If you were fired for discriminatory reasons, make sure that you include instances that a reasonable person would believe are discriminatory.
How a Wrongful Termination Lawyer in Philadelphia Can Help You?
A wrongful termination lawyer can help you assert your rights against a company that has fired you illegally. Whether you were fired for discriminatory reasons, retaliatory measures, or in violation of an employment contract, a wrongful termination lawyer can help.
Wrongful termination can affect a person emotionally and financially. If the company seeks to damage your reputation, your career may be significantly impacted over the long term.
While filing a lawsuit against the company can be frightening, doing so can restore your confidence and allow you to obtain financial compensation for the damages you’ve incurred.
How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Termination Case in Philadelphia?
Under Pennsylvania law, individuals have up to two years to file a wrongful termination case following their dismissal. However, certain restrictions related to federal regulations may require individuals to file their lawsuits much sooner.
It’s best to speak with a wrongful termination attorney immediately following your dismissal to ensure that your case is filed by the appropriate deadlines.
What Type of Damages Can You Recover in a Wrongful Termination Case?
The compensation you may be entitled to under a wrongful termination case consists of economic, non-economic, and punitive damages.
Economic damages include lost wages from the date you were fired. Non-economic damages include mental anguish and pain and suffering. Punitive damages relate to especially egregious acts, and although less common, may be awarded by a judge.
How Should You Choose a Wrongful Termination Lawyer in Philadelphia?
Choosing an experienced lawyer familiar with wrongful termination law is one of the most important actions you can take. At Morgan & Morgan, our team of skilled lawyers is highly knowledgeable about employment laws at the federal and state levels. We’ll make sure that you have the representation you need to present your case successfully.
How Long Will It Take for Your Case to Settle?
In some cases, your employer will agree to a settlement. Settled cases are often resolved in less than six months. However, if your case goes to court, it may take a year or longer to get a resolution.
Seek Legal Counsel From Morgan & Morgan for Your Wrongful Termination Case
With over 900 attorneys across the country, Morgan and Morgan is the largest personal injury law firm in the United States. We’ve helped hundreds of thousands of people get settlements and court verdicts in a variety of cases, including wrongful termination and employment disputes.
Over the past year, we’ve successfully resolved over 70,000 cases in favor of our clients. We’ve won more than $15 billion in damages since the firm began in 1988.
When you need help with your workplace termination case, reach out to Morgan & Morgan for the help you need. Get started today by scheduling a free consultation with a wrongful termination lawyer in Philadelphia.