Wrongful termination is the act of firing or discharging a person from employment for unlawful or unfair reasons. A wrongful termination does not apply in every case of employment termination. In Pennsylvania and most states, an employer employs an employee “at-will.” What this means is that employment is optional. An employer is generally under no obligation to keep an at-will employee. A wrongful termination does not apply in most cases.
Wrongful termination applies in situations where an employer fires a contracted employee without cause. Imagine a situation where your employer promised employment for a period of three years. Suddenly, your superiors decide to go with someone else. The reason they give is a thin veil.
You know better than to believe them, and so do we. At Freundlich & Littman, LLC, we are wrongful termination lawyers. We service the greater Philadelphia area. We have the experience and determination to get our clients full compensation for their wrongful termination.
At-Will vs. Contract Employees
Before diving into wrongful termination law, it is important to understand the differences between “at-will” and “just cause” employees (often referred to as contract employees).
How do you know if you are an at-will employee? Unless your employment contract or handbook specifies otherwise, you are likely an at-will employee. The default in many states is at-will employment. It is especially true if there is no language that would indicate otherwise. Pennsylvania is one of those states.
More likely than not, your employer will not spell out your employment status as “at-will” or “just cause”. It is likely that there will be similar language such as, “an employee can only be fired for good reason.” This indicates a likely “just cause” employee. A contract or handbook may also state that the “employee can be fired at the sole discretion of the employer.” This language would likely indicate an at-will employment status.
If you do not have a written confirmation of your employment status, you may be able to rely on verbal communications from your employer. Some courts have accepted certain verbal assertions from your employer. These words take your employment status from at-will to a contracted employee. Be cautious when relying on verbal assertions. Courts are not settled on which words indicate employment as a “just cause” employee.
An employer can only fire a “just cause” employee for good reason. These employees typically sign a contractual agreement to stay on with the employer. Usually, the contract will detail what constitutes “just cause.” If the contract does not define just cause, the employee handbook will likely tell you. It does not mean that you cannot find yourself without a job. Rather, it means that it is more difficult to fire you than an at-will employee. Typically, good reason means things like stealing from work, fighting on the job, or any other examples of gross misconduct. These acts of gross misconduct are such that you will likely let go immediately or after progressive discipline.
If your employer terminated you in violation of your contract we can help you recover. Wrongful termination exceptions for the at-will employee In Pennsylvania, any employee can sue for wrongful discharge or termination only in certain circumstances. In order to have a legally actionable case for wrongful termination, the discharge must violate “public policy.”
Public policy is anything that is so against public decency or the moral good. The courts in Pennsylvania have detailed a variety of reasons that constitutes of violation of public policy. You may have a case of wrongful termination if your employers fired you after any of the following:
Attempts to coerce you into committing a crime
Obeying the law
Showing up for jury duty
Refusal to comply with a lie detector test
Refusing to serve alcohol to a visibly intoxicated individual
Following government regulations for the use and handling of nuclear waste
The law otherwise prohibited the action
The law is clear. Your employer cannot fire you for reasons that violate public policy. The law defines public policy in a number of ways. Keep in mind that the aforementioned list is not exhaustive. If your employer terminated you following a refusal to engage in a practice that is against public policy, you have options.
What You Can Do After a Wrongful Termination
Following a wrongful termination or discharge, you can sue your employer to recover lost wages and future earnings. You may also recover any other financial injury that you experienced as a result of the wrongful termination.
We are Philadelphia-based attorneys. We at Freundlich & Littman have experience in handling wrongful terminations. We are here to help you recover. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
Contact Us Today!
Freundlich & Littman, LLC. | 1425 Walnut St Suite 200,
Philadelphia, PA 19102 | Phone: (215) 545-8500
Jonathan Rosenau represented me in the property damage claim to the insurance company. He is talented. He is intelligent. He is professional. He prepared me for examination under oath and provided the best course of action in my situation. As a result of his hard work Insurance Company agreed to reimburse the loss. I highly recommend the firm, and specifically Jonathan Rosenau! Thank you very much for your help!
Jonathan was amazing. Professional, hard-working, dedicated and communicates whenever necessary. I never felt left out of what was going on. On a scale of 1-10 he gets 11. Jonathan performed beyond my expectations. I could not have hoped for a better outcome. Best law firm ever and I've used many. Thank you so much. Lorraine
The team at Freundlich & Littman is superb in every way. They are dedicated, professional and focused on getting their clients the best results. If you want to feel like your lawyer has your best interests at heart, I would call Freundlich & Littman!
I called freundlich and littman after being involved in an automobile accident and they got me in the very next day. After meeting with Johnathan Rosenau Esq. I decided to let them handle my case. The process as a whole is very stressful but Johnathan and the other lawyers made the process very easy. With most lawyers you constantly have to call to check up on your case but with Freundlich and Littman they were the ones calling me and making sure that I was doing everything I needed to be doing. I didn't feel like numbers on a spreadsheet as you might with one of the bigger firms advertising on tv. I was always talking directly to my lawyer Johnathan. When coming into the firm for a meeting I was able to sit with all the lawyers and I was able to ask them all any questions I had. Thats whats unqiue with this law firm, you have your main lawyer but all the lawyers are very knwoknowledge about your case as if it was their own. I am thankful for how hard Johnathan and the other lawyers worked on my case. I am very happy to say that this process has finally come to an end. I hope that I am never involved in an automobile accident in the future but if I am I know who to call.
I called and spoke with Dave who gave me solid advice, free of charge, when other lawyers were telling me to pay them a consult fee just to be able to ask my question! Dave saved me a ton of money and time and I’ll be able to sleep peacefully tonight. Thank you!
David Jaffe is one of the most detailed oriented, well-educated and all around fantastic human beings that I have had the honor of speaking to. David as a lawyer; where do I begin? He went above and beyond for me and returned every call I had quickly, answered all my questions with a level of concern and detail that I did not know existed. Many people who seek the advice and representation of a lawyer do so in a state of worry, anxiety and inability to trust anyone within their situation. David Jaffe not only calmed me down but made me feel like everything was going to be okay (which it is, because he is a genius lawyer). He answered all of my questions even the crazy ones. He never made me feel unheard or ignored. He has a passion for what he does. He has a level of concern that made me not only trust him but trust the entire Freundlich & Littman team. The world is a terrible place we all know that, but after my experience with David Jaffe I think that it actually may not be as bad as I originally thought. If you are in need of legal representation and are reading this then call that number, choose option 6 for David or ask the very kind office personnel who answers your call for David Jaffe. I am not the kind of person who normally leaves a review but then again David isn't your normal kind of lawyer. Thank you again David Jaffe, you are a superhero.
Greg is a fantastic attorney. I have encountered many attorneys in my professional career, this was a very complicated property transaction; however, Greg was so efficient, effective, prompt, professional and delivered. Therefore, I would highly recommend him.
F&L was responsive, understanding, and prepared us well for the lengthy and emotional process that was unavoidable with our complex case. Greg and team remained patient and persevered. We were able to successfully settle our case and move on with our lives. For this, we are grateful for F&L’s efforts and service.
I called and spoke with Jon Rosenau and he gave me great advice about dealing with my landlord. Other firms wanted me to pay them hundreds of dollars just to ask a few questions but Jon was willing to answer everything for me and gave me options I didn't even know I had. Really appreciate the time he spent on the phone with me and I will keep his number saved on my phone in case I ever have anything else I need help with. Highly recommend!
I was involved in ATV accident and Jon went out of his way above and beyond to make sure I was taken care of and he even made sure to include me in on the whole process since this was my 1st going after an insurance company. We won the case and I'm sure it wasnt easy for them. I cant thank Jon and his wonderful staff enough for everything. Thank you so much! Happy holidays
I highly recommend Jonathan Rosenau and his team for any legal needs. I was involved in an accident with a ridesharing service and after doing research on several lawyers I decided Jonathan would be the best to represent me. He and his team were extremely professional, helpful, and knowledgeable. He was always a call or email away and very prompt at responding to any concerns I had. You can tell he is passionate about his profession and he truly cares about his clients. I can’t thank him and his team enough for helping me with my settlement!
Over a year ago we became victims of a devastating fire that destroyed our apartment and virtually everything we owned. Recently, we started receiving horrible letters claiming that we were somehow at fault and would be held financially responsible for the damage caused to the neighbors home. Feeling horrified and vulnerable, we called Austin and Greg for help. Not only were they kind, professional, and knowledgeable but they got right to work addressing our concerns and being our voice when we just felt lost and hopeless. Austin and Greg took the time to explain every step of the process with us and ease our overwhelming anxieties and fears. All it took was one letter from Freundlich & Littman and in just a few days we received word that the case had been closed and our prayers were answered. Needless to say, it was an extremely stressful time for us and Austin and Greg could not have been more supportive and considerate. I highly recommend you reach out to Freundlich & Littman with any legal concerns, they will ease your stress and protect your family, just as they did for us!