Wrongful termination in Philadelphia affects employees who have been fired for reasons that are against the law or violate public policy. It is not illegal to fire an employee in Philadelphia because you do not like him or just don’t want to work with him anymore. However, it is illegal to fire him because of his gender, race, religion, age, sexual orientation, color, national origin, military status, or any other discriminatory reason. It is also illegal to fire him because he will not commit a criminal act for your company, will not give in to sexual advances, is a whistleblower, or in a manner that violates his contract. For over 25 years, the experienced attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group have been helping victims of wrongful termination get the compensation they deserve.
Pennsylvania is an at-will employment state. This means that a Philadelphia employer can fire an employee for any reason that is legal and does not violate any rules or public policy. Your employer can fire you because he does not like you because he thinks you are a poor worker, or because you just are no longer needed.
However, wrongful termination occurs when the reason you were fired is based on discrimination, retaliation, or breach of contract. When your employer fires you because you are older than 40, pregnant, a certain race or religion, an active military member, or any other protected reason, that is a wrongful termination. When you are fired against the terms of your employment contract, that may be a wrongful termination. And if you are fired because you are a whistleblower, refused sexual advances, or refused to participate in illegal activity, that is a wrongful termination.
Depending on the reason for wrongful termination, different types of evidence can help prove a claim in Philadelphia court.
- The Contract. If the cause for wrongful termination is breach of contract, you need a copy of your contract that states the employment terms. You will likely need to prove that not only did you get fired before the contract was up, but you did not violate any terms of employment to cause this termination.
- Direct Evidence. While rare, it may happen hat an employer may tell you that you are being fired because of a discriminatory reason or because you told the Department of Justice about illegal activity. He may even tell you that you are being fired because you did not accept this sexual advances. These are examples of direct evidence. When you have written or verbal evidence stating the reasons you were fired that are against the law, that is direct evidence.
- Disparate Evidence. Disparate evidence is when you can link the employer’s knowledge of your status as either pregnant, or a member of a protected class or retaliation for refusing sexual advances, being a whistleblower, or refusing to partake in criminal activity was the cause of you being fired. Typically, it occurs in a more subtle fashion. Yet, there is usually a direct relationship between the cause and the termination.
While termination of employment is generally miserable and seems like it is unfair, it is not often illegal. However, there are times when the laws and public policies are broken, making a termination illegal. Here are some examples of wrongful termination in Philadelphia:
- You were fired because you reported company misappropriation of funds to the proper authorities
- You were fired because you would not sleep with your supervisor
- You were under contract and abided by all of the rules of the contract. You were terminated before your contract ended
- You were terminated because your supervisor does not work with men
- You were fired because of your race
- You were fired because your company has a policy against hiring Gay/Lesbian individuals
- You were terminated because you have a thick foreign accent that your supervisor simply does not like
- You were terminated because you are Muslim
- You were fired because you refused to partake in any illegal activities
- You were fired because you are pregnant
- You were fired because you took a day off to attend to jury duty
- You were fired because you are over the age of 40.
- You were fired because you are an active reservist and got called for a training weekend
Depending on why you were wrongfully terminated in Philadelphia, you may have anywhere from 300 days to 6 years to file a claim from wrongful termination.
If the claim relates to a discrimination claim, then the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Philadelphia Commission of Human Rights provides a time limit of 300 days to file the lawsuit.
Under whistleblower laws in Philadelphia, your time limit to file a claim for wrongful termination is 180 days.
Finally, if the claim is filed as a breach of contract, Philadelphia is four years from the breach, or the time limit specified in the contract to bring a lawsuit against the employer.
Philadelphia, like many states, has several remedies available to victims of wrongful termination. These remedies are both monetary and injunctive reliefs. Here are some of the remedies available to victims of wrongful termination in Philadelphia:
- Reinstatement of employment and/or benefits
- Reimbursement of benefit premiums
- Reimbursement of medical expenses and other related expenses
- Back pay
- Future pay
- Termination or reassignment of the person responsible for the wrongful termination
- Pain and suffering
- Attorney’s fees
- Emotional distress
- Punitive damages
The length of time to settle a wrongful termination lawsuit depends on the details of the claim and the willingness of the parties to settle. If your employer is willing to negotiate a fair settlement, then the case may only last 4 to 6 months. However, if the case goes to trial, the case may last a year or more. The time to prepare for trial can take up to a year. The trial itself may take a couple of days to a few weeks.
If you are the victim of wrongful termination in Philadelphia, there are a few things you can do to help you prepare to file a lawsuit.
- Contract an experienced Philadelphia wrongful termination attorney immediately.
- Gather your evidence. Keep your termination letter, a copy of your contract if you have one, a copy of your work record as available, and any emails, texts, or details of incidents that can help prove you were fired for an illegal reason.
- Do not waste time. You have less than a year, in most cases, to file your lawsuit for wrongful termination. Do not wait until the last minute.
Contact Our Experienced Philadelphia Wrongful Termination Attorneys Today for Your Free Consultation
While you are never guaranteed job security, no one should ever worry that discrimination should ever be the reason you lose your job. If you are the victim of wrongful termination in Philadelphia, the experienced attorneys at Derek Smith Law Group can help. Contact us today at (215) 391-4790 for a free consultation. We do not collect any money until you win your case.