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What exactly does at-will employment mean?

Posted by Anita F. O'Meara, Esq. | Nov 19, 2021 | 0 Comments

When you go to work every day, you expect to perform your job duties in exchange for a regular paycheck. Even if you are good at your job, you may have some concerns about your future employment. That is, you may worry about your employer firing you or deciding to reduce the workforce.

Like many other states, Pennsylvania recognizes at-will employment. This means your employer may terminate your employment for any reason or no reason at all at any time. You also have the right to leave your employer when you want. There are exceptions, however.

Employment contracts

Sometimes, workers sign employment contracts that require them to work for an employer for a certain period of time. If you have an employment contract, your employer probably must respect its terms. After all, employers generally may terminate employees with contracts only for cause. For example, your employer may fire you for coming to work intoxicated, for failing to do your job or for other valid reasons.

Wrongful termination

Under the at-will doctrine, employers can typically terminate employment without providing an explanation. Your employer may not engage in illegal workplace discrimination, however. If you believe your employer may be discriminating against you because of your sex, race, national origin, disability or another protected reason, you may have a valid wrongful termination claim.

Ultimately, even though it may take some time to document wrongful termination, you may not have long to assert your legal rights. Researching your legal options as soon as possible may be vital for protecting your career.

About the Author

Anita F. O'Meara, Esq.

PRACTICE AREAS: Estate Planning, ADministration and litigation, and Commercial litigation Biography:  Anita Fulwiler O'Meara concentrates on providing estate planning and probate services throughout Southeaster Pennsylvania, including Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, and Montgomery, counties, wit...


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