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  • Writer's pictureHeather Hartman

What is At-Will Employment?

Pennsylvania is an At-Will state, which simply means an employer can terminate your employment for any reason, as long as the reason is not based on Discrimination.

The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission defines Discrimination based on the following protected classes:

  • Race

  • Gender

  • Sexual Orientation

  • Religion

  • Age (40 and over)

  • Personal Medical Condition

  • Family Medical Information

  • Pregnancy

  • Gender identity

  • Retaliation for reporting Discrimination for any of the above-listed.

If you feel you have been terminated from a job based on discrimination, Contact an Employment Lawyer for a free consultation.

When is employment in Pennsylvania not considered At-Will?

When an Employment Contract has been put in place at the time of Hiring. Depending on the specifics of the Contract, both employer and employee are bound by that agreement. Breaches can occur when the termination or quitting of a job are not in line with the initial agreement. Contractual protections are a great way for employees to stay out of the At-Will pool, and also protects Employers from staff leaving without agreed upon notice and discussions.

Are there other provisions to protect you from At-Will terminations?

Yes. Besides the above-listed protected classes, there are two other examples of illegal termination not covered by At-Will employment:

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act (USERRA): This act protects Military Services Members from losing their employment for being active service members, applicant service members or members who have served in the past. This means if you need time for training, active duty, or you employer just doesn't like that you served, they cannot terminate your employment for these reasons. You have a right to your job for serving in the following:

  • The Reserves

  • Army

  • Navy

  • Public Health Service commissioned corps

  • Air Force

  • Marine Corps

  • Coast Guard

  • Army National Guard

  • Air National Guard

If you feel you have lost your job due to disclosing your service membership, or requesting time off to serve, call us for a free consultation.

The second example of illegal termination not covered by At-Will is The Criminal History Record Information Act (CHRIA): An employer is absolutely allowed to request information on a past criminal history and in most cases allowed to terminate or not hire an employee based on that history. However, it depends on the job, the types of charges and when they occurred.

If you feel you have been terminated or refused a job due to a past criminal history, Contact our office to have an individual assessment on whether or not it was done wrongfully.

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