Philadelphia Employment Lawyers
Most states follow the rule that employment is “at will.” The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania follows the “at will” employment rule. “At will” means that an employer can fire an employee for any reason, as long as it not for an improper reason. Improper reasons for termination of an employee are termination based on: (1) discrimination; (2) retaliation; (3) contract terms; (4) illegal acts; and (5) family or medical leave. An employer cannot terminate an employee because of the employee’s race, nationality, religion, sex, or in some states, sexual orientation. Additionally, an employer cannot fire an employee because the employee filed a discrimination claim against the employer, or because the employee is participating in an investigation of the employer for discrimination. If the employer and employee have a contract, the employer must abide by the contract and may only fire the employee for reasons stated in the contract. An employer also may not fire an employee for refusing to commit an illegal act. Most employees are permitted, under federal law, to take a leave of absence for specific family or medial problems. If the employee takes a leave for a reason specified under the Family and Medical Leave Act, the employer cannot fire the employee for taking the leave of absence. Furthermore, employee handbooks or company policies outline procedures that must be followed prior to terminating an employee. If the employer terminates an employee without following the company policy, the employee may have a wrongful termination claim.
The federal government, as well as most states, have laws to protect individuals from employment discrimination. Individuals are protected from employment discrimination under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), and the Americans with Disabilities in Employment Act, and other federal and state laws.
Employment discrimination occurs when a person identifies you as belonging to a legally protected group because of a characteristic, and uses their control over you to treat you unfairly because you belong to a protected group. The classes or characteristics that are protected are: (1) race; (2) national origin; (3) sex; (4) religion; (5) age; (6) disability; (7) pregnancy; and in some states and cities (8) sexual orientation. In order to prove employment discrimination, you must prove that the employer intended to treat you differently because of the characteristic. Employment discrimination often occurs in situations, including, but not limited to: (1) hiring, firing, forcing retirement, and promotions; (2) job advertisement and recruitment; (3) compensation and pay; and (4) health/medical and fringe benefits.
Employment discrimination laws also prohibit harassment and retaliation. Employment discrimination laws prohibit harassment by the employer or coworkers when the employer knows they are harassing an employee due to the protected characteristic. The law also prohibits retaliation against the employee for reporting discrimination, filing a lawsuit due to the discrimination, or participating in an investigation.
The federal anti-discrimination laws are enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC investigates claims of discrimination in the workplace. Typically, in order to file an employment discrimination lawsuit in federal court the employee must first file a claim with the EEOC. The deadline for filing a claim with the EEOC is 180 days after the discriminatory act occurs. Usually, because the EEOC has so many cases, they often give people a “right to sue” letter, and then the individual has to hire a private attorney to pursue the employment discrimination claim in federal court.
Sidkoff, Pincus & Green: Our Philadelphia Employment Lawyers’ Experience and Approach to Employment and Discrimination
The relationship between a company’s management and the company’s employees is a constantly changing field with new statutes and regulations regularly being created and revised. The employer-employee relationship is complex when it comes to discrimination, retaliation, wrongful discharge, harassment, breach of contract, and other workplace claims. Philadelphia employment lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green are highly experienced in all areas of the law dealing with the employer-employee relationship. Our attorneys create litigation strategies to support our clients’ concerns and goals.
At the Law Offices of Sidkoff, Pincus & Green, our experienced Pennsylvania and New Jersey attorneys handle many types of legal matters, employment and discrimination. If you are interested in having a consultation with one of our attorneys, please call us at 215-574-0600 or contact us online.