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Defining retaliatory termination and how you can protect yourself

On Behalf of | Mar 11, 2024 | employee rights |

Taking a stand for what’s right can sometimes pose risks for employees. While some employers may respect this, others may see it as a threat to the company. In such cases, they might dismiss these employees for escalating issues or voicing concerns. This kind of dismissal is a form of retaliation, and it’s not without repercussions.

What employees need to know about retaliatory termination

Retaliatory termination occurs when an employer dismisses an employee without just cause. Employers have the right to dismiss employees who do not meet the company’s performance expectations. But when an employer dismisses an employee for participating in a legally protected activity, this borders on retaliatory termination. A protected activity involves any action an employee takes to assert their rights under employment laws. By law, it is illegal for employers to punish employees who assert their rights or the rights and safety of others.

Here are some examples of protected activities:

  • Filing a complaint about workplace safety
  • Reporting discrimination or harassment
  • Participating in an investigation
  • Providing evidence in a workplace investigation
  • Voicing concerns about unethical behavior by a manager

If you’re dismissed for any of these activities, it’s considered wrongful termination. Under the law, you have the right to take legal action against it.

Protection under Pennsylvania laws

Pennsylvania laws stress the importance of safeguarding employees from retaliatory termination. The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA), for example, prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who file a complaint under the act. This law, along with others, helps ensure a fair and safe work environment.

Understanding your rights as an employee is crucial in protecting yourself from retaliatory termination. If you find yourself dismissed for standing up for your rights or the rights and safety of others, you can file a complaint with the PHRA. However, you must understand the process and gather the necessary evidence to support your claim. For this reason, consider seeking a legal professional. They can help you know what information is sufficient as evidence and can advocate for your rights.