In at-will employment states like Pennsylvania, an employer can fire you at any time for any legal reason. These reasons can range from poor work performance to chronic tardiness. Despite the many legal reasons for termination, some employees will find that they have been terminated for unlawful reasons. Many wrongful terminations are the result of discrimination on the part of the employer.
What is employment discrimination?
Under federal and Pennsylvania employment laws, employers are legally prohibited from discriminating against employees based on their protected characteristics. These protected characteristics include:
- Sex (pregnancy, sexual orientation, or gender identity)
- National origin
- Age (employees over age 40)
- Genetic information
How do I prove wrongful termination?
If you believe you were terminated from your job for discriminatory reasons, you may have a strong case for wrongful termination. You may have to establish that:
- You are a member of a protected class (as listed above).
- You were qualified for your position.
- You were terminated by your employer.
- The employer’s listed nondiscriminatory reason for the termination was false.
To prove the above, you will likely need several types of evidence, including performance reviews and other performance-related documentation, and statements from supervisors. Your employer will likely insist that your termination was for a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason, so your case will likely rest on showing that the reasons they cited were untrue.
Proving that you were terminated because of discrimination can be a challenge without the help of an employment law attorney. Your attorney can collect and present the necessary evidence to help you succeed in court.