If you are working without an employment contract, and you are employed in the United States, you are considered an at-will employee. You and your employer can both legally terminate your employment for good cause, or for no cause at all. However, if you are terminated for wrongful cause, you can take legal action against your employer. Both state and federal law can protect you against wrongful termination, which can fall into any of the following categories:
- Discrimination. You cannot be terminated because of your age, race, gender, national origin, or disability. In certain states, you cannot be discriminated against because of your sexual orientation.
- Being a Whistleblower. The law may protect you from being terminated if you report certain activities by your employers to the correct resources. The law would protect you, for example, if you reported that your employer broke environmental laws, and you informed a supervisor or the appropriate government agency, but you would not be protected if you told the media or a fellow employee.
- Refusal to Break the Law. An employer cannot force you to break the law as part of your job, and cannot terminate you for refusing to do so.
- Retaliatory Firing. If you take steps to protect your civil rights in the workplace, you cannot be terminated legally for it. For example, your employer is not legally permitted to terminate you for filing a civil rights claim, such as discrimination, or for participating in the investigation of a civil rights claim for a fellow employee.
If you have been wrongfully terminated, there are certain remedies provided by the law. These remedies may include back pay, reinstatement of your job, compensatory damages, punitive damages, and attorney fees. A qualified Philadelphia employment lawyer can guide you through this complex system. Please call Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. today at 215-569-1999, or contact us online for a free, confidential consultation. Our knowledgeable attorneys will fight for your rights. We serve clients throughout Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York.