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Wrongful termination claims difficult for workers in Pennsylvania

A workplace can be a very chaotic environment, and workers need to be able to adapt to all of the changes that can happen at a moment's notice. If they fail to perform their tasks up to the standards that the company has in place, they may find themselves looking for a new line of work.

Most Pennsylvania employees are categorized as "at-will" employees. This means that there is no contract specifying the duration of the employment relationship. Either party may bring an end to the arrangement at any time, for any reason.

Because of this at-will label, it is extremely difficult for workers in the state to prevail on a wrongful termination claim. There are very specific requirements in place, and in order for a claim to be successful, there are several things that an employee must be able to demonstrate.

According to Pennsylvania's wrongful termination laws, an employee may only bring an action against an employer if the employer violated public policy when firing the employee. Many cases never meet this threshold because public policy violations can be very difficult to demonstrate.

Employer actions will only be held to be against public policy if the actions are in violation of statutes within the state. Employers cannot fire employees when there are statutes present that specifically prohibit the employer from taking such action. If the activity does not fit into one of these categories, it may still be held to be a violation of public policy if it is obvious enough to gain a near unanimous opinion against the behavior.

There is some question as to what would fall into this last category, and many of the cases that wind up in the courts concern this issue. In the past, courts have held that employers engaged in wrongful termination for firing employees who filed for workers' compensation or reported for jury duty.

Many employees are surprised to learn that they may be unable to bring these claims against their employers. They feel that they lost their job due to some sort of violation of their rights. It will be necessary to carefully review these situations to learn if a claim may be possible.

If you feel you have been wrongfully terminated from your job, speak to an experienced employment law attorney to learn more about your next steps. An attorney will be able to examine the facts present in your situation, and help you determine what is best for you. If the case ends up going to trial, you need someone on your side who can demonstrate how the employer's actions violated a statue or public policy.