As you probably know, Pennsylvania is an at-will employment state. This means employers in the commonwealth can typically fire you for any reason they choose or even for no reason at all. Still, if your employer engages in impermissible discrimination, you may have a valid claim for wrongful termination.
Wrongful termination happens when your employer ends your employment because of one or more of your personal characteristics. If you are successful with your wrongful termination claim, you may be eligible for different types of compensation.
As the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission notes, federal law protects employees from discrimination based upon any of the following characteristics:
- National origin
- Age, if you are 40 or older
It is important to understand employers often try to hide their discriminatory practices. That is, your employer may blame your termination on something other than illegal workplace discrimination. Consequently, you may have to investigate your employer’s true motivations to know why you lost your job.
If your employer terminates your employment, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits and an extension of your health insurance. These are generally available to at-will employees who lose their jobs. For a successful wrongful termination claim, though, you may get more.
Specifically, your employer may have to pay you the wages and benefits you lost from being out of work. Your employer may also have to provide compensation for your emotional distress. Furthermore, to discourage other employers from wrongfully terminating employees, your employer may be liable for a stiff financial penalty.
Ultimately, while filing a wrongful termination claim may be stressful, the compensation you receive for a victorious one is likely to be valuable.