DON’T LET YOUR EMPLOYER FIRE YOU!
Employees have rights. You can’t be fired because of your age, sex, race, disability, sexual orientation, pregnancy, and more. It is also illegal for an employer to retaliate against you for engaging in certain protected activity. Our lawyers protect employees’ rights and get the compensation they deserve.
Employees generally can be fired for any reason unless there is an employment contract or a labor union in place. This is called “at will” employment. However, there are many exceptions to “at will” employment. When an employer fires an employee in violation of the law, it is a wrongful termination.
Wrongful terminations are usually based on discrimination. Federal law protects employees in every state from discriminatory actions and terminations. Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII) companies with 15 employees or more are prohibited from firing people or taking certain employment actions – including decisions relating to hiring, firing, salary, benefits or promotional opportunities – based upon the race, sex, religion, color, gender or national origin of an employee. Employees over the age of 40 cannot be fired because of their age as a result of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which applies to companies with a workforce of 20 or more. Disabled Americans working in the private and public sectors receive protection via the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which not only prohibits discrimination but also requires companies to make reasonable accommodations for their disabled employees. There are also federal laws that prohibit pregnancy discrimination (Pregnancy Discrimination Act), veteran discrimination (USERRA) and more.
Many employees are also protected by state laws. One of the most expansive anti-discrimination laws in the country is the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD or LAD). The NJLAD makes it unlawful to discriminate or harass people based on race, creed, color, national origin, nationality, ancestry, sex, pregnancy, familial status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, marital status, domestic partnership/civil union status, military service, and atypical cellular or blood trait. Although not as strong, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA) protects employees working in Pennsylvania from discrimination based on race, color, familial status, religious creed, ancestry, handicap or disability, age, sex, national origin, or the use of a guide or support animal.
In some cases, municipal law protections may enhance those provided by the federal and state statues. For example, Philadelphia discrimination law prohibits discrimination based on age, ancestry, color, disability, domestic or sexual violence victim status, ethnicity, familial status, gender identity, marital status, national origin, race, religion, retaliation, sex, and sexual orientation. Our Philadelphia discrimination lawyers file these claims with the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations (PCHR).
Employees with an employment agreement or employment contract may be able to rely on that document to avoid an “at will” termination. A contract employee may generally continue employment unless and until an employer discovers “just cause” to fire them. An employee may have a wrongful termination claim if the employer terminates employment in violation of an employment agreement.
The most common type of wrongful termination claim is retaliatory discharge. An employer may not terminate an employee in retaliation for complaining about or reporting certain unlawful activity. In order to establish a valid claim of retaliatory discharge, an employee usually must show that they participated in a protected activity, such as reporting discrimination or harassment, at work. The employee must also prove that they were fired or otherwise punished in retaliation for engaging in that protected activity. For example, if you were fired because you reported that your manager was sexually harassing a coworker, that would be retaliatory discharge. In general, our lawyers are successful in proving retaliatory discharge claims even when the employee was mistaken about the original complaint of harassment or discrimination. We generally only need to prove that the termination was a result of the complaint.
If your job has recently been terminated, you may be wondering whether you have a potential claim against your former employer. Contact our lawyers at the Law Offices of Eric A. Shore to find out. Our Pennsylvania and New Jersey employment lawyers will assess your case for free. Depending on the facts, we may be able to get you compensation, negotiate a severance agreement or possibly help you get your job back. We represent victims of wrongful termination throughout New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland. Contact us online, or call 1-800-CANT-WORK or215-599-9688 today to schedule your free case evaluation.