Are You Considered an At Will Employee?
A Conshohocken employment lawyer can help workers who are concerned they have been fired unfairly or who have otherwise had their rights violated in the workplace. If your employer fires you for a prohibited reason, you may have a claim for wrongful termination. However, there are often very few limits on exactly when an employer can fire you. This is because most workers are considered to be at will employees.
If you need help determining what your rights and your obligations are as a worker, you should get professional legal advice as soon as possible. The loss of a job can cause significant stress and financial damage, as can any other inappropriate treatment at work. You need to pursue a claim for compensation if your employer has fired you inappropriately or if you've otherwise experienced losses because worker protection laws were violated.
Curley & Rothman, LLC has extensive experience representing workers. We can help you to understand what obligations an employer has to you, whether you are considered an at will employee or not, and whether your termination was appropriate. Give us a call today to speak with an employment lawyer to learn more about your options for protecting your career.
Who is an At Will Employee?
When an employee is an at will employee, this means that the employee works as long as the employee wants to, for as long as the company decides to keep him employed. A worker can quit at any time, and a company can fire the worker at any time and for any reason. There does not have to be a specific stated reason for either an employee quitting a job or an employer terminating the worker.
Under PA law, most employees are considered at will employees. For example, in one 1995 case, Stumpp v. Stroudsburg Municipal Authority, the court explained: "as a general rule, employees are at-will, absent a contract, and may be terminated at any time, for any reason or for no reason."
There are some limited exceptions to this. If an employment contract is created and signed by an employer and an employee, the contract can specify a duration of employment. The contract could also detail disciplinary procedures and grounds for termination, which an employer would need to follow before letting the worker go from the organization.
Outside of when an employment contract has been created, an employer can opt to terminate a worker immediately for virtually any reason, or without providing a reason for letting the worker go. However, even with at will employees, there are some protections in place. For example, an employer may not terminate an at-will employee for a discriminatory reason or for any other unlawful reason.
While an employer can fire an at will employee any time without justification, an employer cannot fire any workers (at will or otherwise) because of their race, religion, gender, national origin, disability status, or advanced age. If an employer fires a worker because of his protected class, this could be considered a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as a violation of state law.
In addition to protections from unlawful discrimination, at will workers also cannot be fired for other reasons which would violate the law or public policy. For example, it could be considered wrongful termination to let an at will worker go from his job because:
- The worker reported a violation of Occupational Safety and Health Administration codes, which are designed to achieve a safe worksite.
- The worker reported a work injury and/or made a workers' compensation claim after getting hurt on-the-job.
- The employer was a whistleblower who reported wrongdoing and/or fraud against the government.
- The employee took time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act in accordance with FMLA rules.
- The employee reported wage and hour violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
These are just a few of the key protections which are in place. Whenever any employee believes his employer fired him for a discriminatory or unlawful reason, it is important for the worker to get appropriate legal help.
Getting Help from a Conshohocken Employment Lawyer
Curley & Rothman, LLC has represented many clients who were at will employees but who were wrongfully terminated. We also provide representation to workers who were terminated in violation of an employment contract. Give us a call at 610-834-8819 or contact us today to schedule your consultation with a Conshohocken employment lawyer to learn more about how we can help if you believe you were wrongfully terminated or otherwise treated unfairly at your job.