How To File a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit in Harrisburg, PA

Wrongful termination is a form of employment discrimination. In Pennsylvania, as well as the rest of the United States, most employment is “at-will.” As a general statement, that means that, just as you can quit your job at any time for any reason, your employer can fire you at any time for any reason. 

Perhaps your employer doesn’t like the kind of conditioner you use on your hair, for example. Nevertheless, there are exceptions that can generate a wrongful termination claim.

What Constitutes Wrongful Termination for “At-Will” Employees?

Your employer cannot legally fire you if the firing amounts to:

  • Discrimination based on your race, gender, religion, national origin, age, disability, pregnancy, or other protected characteristics. Even this exception is not absolute, but there are only limited “exceptions to the exception.”
  • Retaliation against you for filing a discrimination claim, reporting your employer’s illegal conduct, or assisting with an investigation against your employer.
  • Retaliation for enforcing your rights under labor law, such as joining a labor union.
  • Firing you for refusing to commit an illegal act.
  • Firing you in violation of the company’s own policy (check the company handbook).
  • Firing you deceitfully or fraudulently.
  • Firing you for taking time off to vote or serve on a jury.

“Firing you” doesn’t just mean telling you to clean out your desk and leave. An employer can “fire” you by deliberately making your life so miserable at work that you have no reasonable choice but to quit. Lawyers call this “constructive termination.”

Wrongful Termination Law

Both Pennsylvania and the federal government have passed laws banning wrongful termination. Although Pennsylvani’s wrongful termination laws align closely with federal law, there are some differences.

People generally think of wrongful termination as a civil rights claim, but that’s not always true. In addition to civil rights law, the possible basis for your claim might be retaliation, breach of employment contract, violation of public policy, violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), violation of “whistleblower” laws, or Pennsylvania state law. The consequences of these laws can be very different from one another.

What To Do If You Become the Victim of Wrongful Termination

Filing a wrongful termination lawsuit in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, involves several steps. Here’s a general overview:

  • Determine whether you have a viable wrongful termination claim. You’ll need an employment lawyer to help you. Most employment lawyers offer free initial consultations.
  • Gather evidence such as emails, employment contracts, company policies, performance reviews, and any other relevant communication.
  • File a complaint with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission or the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, if you were terminated in violation of your civil rights. You have to do this before you can file a discrimination lawsuit.
  • File a lawsuit at the appropriate Harrisburg court. This could be in the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas or a federal court, depending on whether you’re filing under federal law or under state law. You will need to submit certain carefully crafted documents and pay a filing fee.
  • Recruit a neutral third party to deliver the lawsuit papers to the defendant (your employer).
  • Comply with all mandatory court procedures and deadlines.

The more quickly you begin preparing for your wrongful termination lawsuit, the better your chances will be.

Damages You Can Recover Through a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit

If you suffer a wrongful termination, you can qualify for both economic damages and non-economic damages. You might even qualify for punitive damages. This is a big deal, because it means you don’t have to settle for lost wages and benefits alone. Talk to your lawyer to determine which elements of damages apply to the particular facts of your case.  

If you believe you might have a claim for wrongful discrimination, don’t wait. Act immediately to schedule a free initial consultation with a Pennsylvania wrongful termination lawyer. Who knows? Your claim might be worth more than you think it is.

If you’ve been injured in a workers’ compensation, please contact Marzzacco Niven & Associates at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today:

Harrisburg Law Office
945 East Park Drive, Suite 103 Harrisburg, PA 17111
(717) 231-1640

York Law Office
2550 Kingston Road, Suite 210A York, PA 17401
(717) 995-8998

Wyomissing Law Office
833 N. Park Road, Suite 103, Room A Wyomissing, PA 19610
(717) 388-2325

Chambersburg Law Office
79 St. Paul Drive, Suite 1 Chambersburg, PA 17201
(717) 388-2378

Carlisle Law Office
354 Alexander Springs Road Carlisle, PA 17015
(717) 995-8732

Carbondale Law Office
30 Lincoln Avenue, Suite 101 Carbondale, PA 18407
(717) 995-8810

Lancaster Law Office
2173 Embassy Drive, Ste 123, Lancaster Pa 17603
(717) 616-2954

Lebanon Law Office
937 Willow Street, Suite D Lebanon, PA 17042-1140
(717) 995-8963